Halloween is a holiday that many of us enjoy – we get to visit with neighbors, we see kids dressed in their favorite costumes, and we also get to indulge in sweet treats! While Halloween and trick or treating in general, are fun events that we look forward to all year, Halloween is known to be one of the most dangerous days of the year with regard to automobile accidents.
Specifically, more people are injured or killed as a result of being struck by an automobile on Halloween than on any other average day. Why is that the case you may ask - there are several factors that play into the dangerousness of Halloween night:
1. October 31 is a date when the evenings are generally darker at an earlier time;
2. Kids may rush from home to home while trick or treating and dart out into the street without looking both ways;
3. Children and adults may be in the road wearing dark costumes or other apparel that make them hard to see;
4. Adults who partake in Halloween parties may end up behind the wheel when they are under the influence.
While this list is not exhaustive, the above factors show why there can be an increase in automobile accidents on Halloween.
Researchers at the University of British Columbia participated in a study in which they looked at data regarding 42 years of deaths on the road across the United States starting in 1975, tracked by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s Fatality Analysis Reporting System. These researchers then compared pedestrian deaths from 5PM right up until midnight on Halloween to deaths during that same time window one week earlier, and one week later. They found that over these Halloweens from 1975 to 2016, there was a 43 percent increase compared to other random fall nights. It was also found that 55 of those deaths were children ages 4 to 8 and the peak time for these accidents was around 6PM on Halloween nights. See Melanie Green, Halloween the deadliest day for young kids, UBC pedestrian safety study says (Oct. 30, 2018).
Thus, it is imperative that pedestrians and automobile drivers take care to ensure that everyone has a safe Halloween. We can start doing this by driving slower, being extremely cautious when backing in and out of driveways, being cautious as we approach crosswalks, not driving distracted, and using lights and other indicators to communicate with other drivers. Here’s to having a safe and fun Halloween this October 31st!