We are reminded the major dangers at Halloween are not from ghosts and goblins…but rather pedestrian/vehicle collisions, to date this year 28 Pedestrians have been killed on Irish roads.
The clocks will go back and darkness once again shortens our daylight hours. The weather does the rest, making it much more difficult to see pedestrians while driving.
Halloween means many things to many people. For some, it is an opportunity to play practical jokes; for others, it is fun; and to still others, it is a time to gorge on mounds of sweets solicited from neighbours. However, to Road Safety professionals, Halloween is often a tense time of year, a time when pranks cross the line into life endangering activities and when innocent children having fun and seeking treats, can fall victim to road collisions.
Their costumes may be out of this world, but are often made with a dark colour material and hard to see by motorists. Their mode of travel is strictly down to earth - trick-or-treaters face significantly greater than usual risks from traffic as they make their rounds on foot. The road safety officer in Mayo County Council urges adults to review common sense guidelines with children to protect them from pedestrian injuries and falls, the most common risks they face on Halloween.
"The excitement of trick-or-treating can make everyone less cautious," said Noel Gibbons, road safety officer in Mayo County Council. "To help keep children safe, parents should remind their kids about the rules of the road and ensure they will be seen by drivers this Halloween."
Young children are at special risk for pedestrian injury because they face traffic risks that exceed their developmental abilities, for example, the ability to accurately judge the speed and distance of oncoming traffic.
Children and their parents are also reminded to be mindful that some of the more vulnerable or elderly members of the community do not wish to participate in Halloween activities and in fact may feel intimidated by groups of people calling at their doors.
The Road Safety officer recommends that an adult or older sibling accompany children under age 12 while trick-or-treating. In addition, the road safety officer offers the following recommendations:
The shorter day means that children are more likely to be trick-or-treating in the dark when it is harder for drivers to see them. Children should bring flashlights or glow sticks with them, carry reflective bags, or attach retro-reflective tape, fabric, or decorative patches to costumes.
Review basic pedestrian safety rules, including where and how to cross the road. Teach kids never to dart out into the street or road -- one of the most common causes of pedestrian deaths among children. Drivers should be particularly alert on Halloween and watch for children on the street, in alleys and crossing the road.
Although Halloween is meant to be spooky and fun, it's also important to keep it safe for your children, your friends and yourself.