Scary costume, check. Carved pumpkin, check. Bag 'o candy? Check. Low beams?
Halloween witches and goblins will be roaming your neighborhood this weekend, and with little beggars walking the cul-de-sac in droves, it's time to remind all drivers about safe driving. It seems obvious, but each year, pedestrian accidents in some areas nearly double in the seven final days of October.
It's not enough to count on pre-tween trick-or-treaters to know how to go about their sugar rush safely. Chaperones and parents have to be on the lookout for potentially dangerous situations. Costume safety is paramount--but for drivers, there are special concerns to keep in mind:
Teach your children well. Before you leave the house, make sure all the tricksters in your herd know the rules of the road. Avoiding strangers, paying attention to adults, and watching out for themselves are granted. They should also stay out of garages, and should only approach houses lit to greet the Halloween crowds.
Go electric. Put a few flashlights in the car for your brood to carry with their jack o' lanterns.
Keep alert. Children will be coming from every direction. Driving slowly and scanning ahead and in your mirrors is always a driving best practice.
Keep your low beams on. You need to see the road ahead--and kids and parents on the street need to see you coming, too.
Mind the curb--and sidewalk. Pay special attention to the sides of the road, too. Eager children will dart into intersections, ready for the next house. Every parent knows that, try as they might, they can't keep control of every child, every time. You need to help.
Use your flashers. If you're driving kids from stop to stop--a common practice in rural areas--make sure to use your hazard lights when you park. That way, oncoming drivers will get an early notice that something's afoot, whether it's spooky ghosts, pirates, or just a parent waiting patiently by the mailbox.[AAA via Chillicothe Gazette; photo by Flickr Yaxzone]