Halloween driving has its own dangers.
Around dusk — when daylight is the most problematic for human vision anyway — residential streets will be populated by diminutive monsters and superheroes, going from house to house and gathering the stuff that makes kids and dentists happy. Later on, the roads may be filled party-goers, driving home from gatherings and possibly not entirely chemically fit to drive.
According to statistics from the CDCC, driving on Halloween is four times as dangerous as any other night of the year.
But Halloween can be made much safer with some simple, common sense driving tips.
Driving among Trick-or-Treaters
- There’s extra danger, so be extra careful. There will be more pedestrians out and more of them will be young and excited and not thinking about the dangers. Some may even be in costumes that make it harder for them to see or hear. Increase your caution to compensate for their lack of it.
- Increase your reaction time by slowing down. This will give you more time to see Spiderman dart across the street between parked cars and more time for him to see you.
- Focus on your driving. During Halloween especially is not the time to cruise your neighborhood will the cell phone at your ear and your thoughts miles away. Let it ring and call them back later.
- Don’t pass vehicles stopped in the roadway. They could be dropping off kids, and who knows which way the kids may run once they escape the car. Just wait a bit and follow the car when it moves on.
- Never assume a pedestrian approaching the roadway will yield for you. Children concentrating on which houses they’ve gone to won’t be concentrating on you, and some of them may actually be new to crossing the street on their own.
- 4 to 8pm are the peak trick-or-treating hours, but the added danger doesn’t end when Darth Vader and the Fairy Princess go to bed. A lot of adults will be celebrating Halloween as well, and some of them will be driving home later under the influence of more than candy. Out in traffic, look out for and avoid the drivers who are erratic or racing dangerously fast.
What about the Older Partygoers
For those of you who’ll be driving home from parties, make sure that you’re fit to drive before getting behind the wheel.
If you’re too tired or have had too much drink, don’t get behind the wheel. Decide before you get to the party who’s going to be the designated driver. If no one in your group leaps at the chance, volunteer yourself. It’s one thing to dress up as a superhero for Halloween. Being the designated driver gives you the chance to actually be the hero.
If you’re the host, make sure that your guests don’t hit the road if they’re not good to go. If you expect your party to break up about, say, 1am, then slow down on serving drinks a couple of hours before that, and suggest coffee instead of other drinks. Of course, coffee won’t get the alcohol out of a person’s system, but drinking coffee will mean they’re not drinking something else and give the liver time to do its thing.
Above all, do whatever it takes to keep drunken guests from driving away from your house. Get their keys. Convince them to stay the night. Trick them into sitting on the couch to “talk” until they fall asleep. Whatever it takes.