AAA Offers Safety Tips For Halloween - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

AAA Offers Safety Tips For Halloween

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TOWSON, MD - With children and partygoers heading out this Halloween weekend, AAA Mid-Atlantic and the Mid-Atlantic Foundation for Safety and Education are offering some key tips to help all be safe and festive, as they enjoy the holiday. “As children take to the streets on Halloween to trick-or-treat, their risk of being injured by motorists increases greatly,” states Myra Wieman, Manager of the Mid-Atlantic Foundation for Safety.  

In fact, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Halloween is consistently one of the top three days for pedestrian injuries and fatalities, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that children are four times more likely to be struck by a motor vehicle on Halloween than any other day of the year. “Because excited trick-or-treaters often forget about safety, it's even more important that motorists and parents pay attention,” adds Wieman.

This year Halloween falls on a Friday, which can be a big party night.  Partygoers are reminded to designate a sober driver or to make plans in advance to take a taxi or public transportation if they plan to drink.  In 2012 alone, there were 10,322 people killed in drunk–driving crashes. “Drivers need to be alert and vigilant when going out on Halloween night.  Driving while drunk, distracted or impaired, is a recipe for disaster,” said Ragina Cooper Averella, Public and Government Affairs Manager for AAA Mid-Atlantic.  According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), Halloween is a statistically dangerous night for drunk driving. In 2012, almost half (48 percent) of all crash fatalities that night involved a drunk driver.

AAA Mid-Atlantic and the Foundation for Safety and Education offer the following tips to keep everyone safe this Halloween:

Motorists:

  • Slow down in residential neighborhoods and obey all traffic signs and signals. Drive at least five mph below the posted speed limit to give yourself extra time to react to children who may dart into the street.
  • Watch for children walking on roadways, medians and curbs. In dark costumes, they'll be harder to see at night.
  • Look for children crossing the street. They may not be paying attention to traffic and cross the street mid-block or between parked cars.
  • Carefully enter and exit driveways and alleys.
  • Turn on your headlights to make yourself more visible – even in the daylight.
  • Broaden your scanning by looking for children left and right into yards and front porches.
Partygoers:

  • Always plan ahead to designate a non-drinking driver before any party or celebration begins.
  • Never get behind the wheel of a car when you've been drinking alcohol – even after just one drink.
  • Never ride as a passenger in a car driven by someone who has been drinking alcohol – even after just one drink.
  • Do not hesitate to take the keys from friends or family members who may be impaired.
  • Use mass transit or call a taxi.
  • Be a responsible host in reminding guests to stay safe and always offer alcohol-free beverages.
  • If you encounter an impaired driver on the road, keep a safe distance and ask a passenger to call 911 (or pull over to a safe location to make the call yourself).
  • Remember: prescription, over-the-counter medications and illegal drugs also can impair your ability to drive safely.
Parents:

  • Ensure an adult or older, responsible youth is available to supervise children under age 12.
  • Plan and discuss the route your trick-or-treaters will follow.
  • Instruct children to travel only in familiar areas and along established routes.
  • Teach children to stop only at well-lit houses and to never to enter a stranger's home or garage.
  • Establish a time for children to return home.
  • Tell children not to eat any treats until they get home so parents can examine the candy for choking hazards and evidence of tampering. Eat only factory-wrapped treats and avoid eating homemade treats made by strangers.
  • Review trick-or-treating safety precautions, including pedestrian and traffic safety rules.
  • Make sure Halloween costumes are flame-retardant and visible with retro-reflective material.
Trick-or-Treaters:

  • Be bright at night – wear retro-reflective tape on costumes and treat buckets to improve visibility to motorists and others.
  • Wear disguises that don't obstruct vision, and avoid facemasks. Instead, use nontoxic face paint. Also, watch the length of billowy costumes to help avoid tripping.
  • Ensure any props are flexible and blunt-tipped to avoid injury from tripping or horseplay.
  • Carry a flashlight containing fresh batteries, and place it face down in the treat bucket to free up one hand. Never shine it into the eyes of oncoming drivers.
  • Stay on sidewalks and avoid walking in streets if possible.
  • If there are no sidewalks, walk on the left side of the road, facing traffic.
  • Look both ways and listen for traffic before crossing the street.
  • Cross streets only at the corner, and never cross between parked vehicles or mid-block.
  • Trick-or-treat in a group if someone older cannot go with you.
  • Tell your parents where you are going.
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