The N.C. Department of Transportation, through its Watch for Me NC pedestrian and bicycle safety program, is encouraging parents, motorists and trick-or-treaters to be safe this Halloween. More than 1,600 pedestrians are injured or killed in collusions with motor vehicles in North Carolina each year, and over a third of those collisions occur in the evening or at night. With thousands of children expected to be walking outside on October 31, here are some tips to help make sure Halloween is both fun and safe for everyone:
Before children begin their trick-or-treat rounds, parents should:
- Plan and discuss a safe route their trick-or-treaters intend to follow and establish a return time. Instruct you children to travel only in familiar areas and along the established route.
- Make sure that an adult or an older responsible youth will be supervising the outing for children under age 12.
- Make sure your child carries a flashlight, glow stick or has reflective tape on their costume to make them more visible to cars.
- Let children know that they should stay together as a group if going out trick-or-treating without an adult.
- Review all appropriate trick-or-treat safety precautions, including pedestrian/traffic safety rules.
To have a safe trick-or-treating adventure, trick-or-treaters should:
- Stay in a familiar neighborhood along the established route and stop only at familiar houses unless accompanied by an adult.
- Walk on sidewalks, not in the street. If there are no sidewalks, walk on the left side of the road, facing traffic.
- Cross streets at crosswalks when available. Look both ways before crossing streets and cross when the light tells you to cross, after you check for cars in all directions.
- Carry a flashlight, wear clothing with reflective markings or tape, and stay in well-lit areas. Wear a watch you can read in the dark.
- Don't cut across yards or driveways.
Motorists should be especially alert on Halloween and follow these tips:
- Drive slowly through residential streets and areas where pedestrians trick-or-treating could be expected.
- Watch for children darting out from between parked cars.
- Watch for children walking on roadways, medians, and curbs.
- Enter and exit driveways and alleys carefully.
- At dusk and later in the evening, watch for children in dark clothing.
The Watch for Me NC program, started in 2012, is a collaborative effort to reduce pedestrian and bicycle-related crashes through enhanced education and enforcement of safety laws. It consists of pedestrian, bicycle and driver-focused safety messages as well as concerted efforts by area police to enforce laws. To learn more about the program, visit watchformenc.org.