Driving at dusk and in the pouring rain in late October is difficult enough, especially if your windows are fogging up, your wipers aren’t keeping up with the rain and you’re slamming through puddles made deeper by storm drains covered with leaves.
Plus, for many, it’s the end of the work or school day. You’re a little tired and distracted. And maybe you have to connect with the kids or the spouse on the trip home.
Now let’s make the drive even more treacherous by putting excited, running little kids in costumes, wearing masks and bulked up with rain gear along some of those dark streets.
It’s amazing how quickly you can come upon them. One second, there’s nothing there, and the next, there’s group of kids and their parents right alongside the road or crossing in front of you.
It’s Halloween, and it’s a scary time, and not just because some people dress up as clowns.
Children under age 17 are three times more likely to be struck and killed by a car on Halloween than any other day of the year, according federal highway safety data, with 54 children killed on Halloween compared to 18 on an average day.
Children age 4 to 8 are about 10 times more likely to be killed on Halloween than during other autumn evenings.
The 6 p.m. hour is the deadliest time for trick-or-treaters to be on the road, one study shows.
Make a special effort today to be watchful of the shoulders of the road, slow down at crossings, stay a little farther back of the vehicle in front of you and keep your windows clear. And don’t be messing around with your stupid phone.
It only takes a split second under these conditions to cause a tragedy.
Parents, keep your kids safe by going out while it’s still light, by having your kids wear reflective clothing and carrying flashlights, by making sure costumes don’t make your kids more prone to tripping and falling, by holding their hands, using sidewalks and enforcing the no-running rule.
Also make sure they don’t wear their masks over their faces until they’re ready to ring the doorbell.
If you can, find trick-or-treating at a local mall or a municipality-sponsored event, where it might be safer to walk around.
Halloween can be fun. But it also takes a lot of responsibility on the part of drivers and parents to keep everyone safe.
Remember what day it is today, and make the extra effort to keep trick-or-treating a treat for all.