If you’ve seen a cackling witch, a pack of werewolves and a handful of ghosts huddling in conspiracy on the street corner, chances are you’re driving on Halloween and it’s Trick-or-Treating time – or the terrifying Witching Hour…
But do you know how to keep yourself and any little ones you might see enjoying their evening safe this Halloween? According to a recent survey, 4 to 8-year-olds are ten times more likely to be struck by a vehicle on Halloween, including an average of 4 additional pedestrian deaths compared to the rest of the year. There’s also a 75% increase in accidents on UK roads compared to the rest of October. So, to avoid any additional frights on October 31st, we’ve made a list of our top tips for both drivers and trick-or-treaters to allow everyone to enjoy their evening.
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Our Top Ten Tips For Driving On Halloween
Eliminate All Distractions Before You Start Driving
While you should never drive distracted, take extra care on Halloween to keep your full attention on the road. Answer any messages before you switch the engine on and then leave your phone in a place where you won’t be tempted to look at it. Keep any other distractions, such as loud music or objects obscuring your visibility, to a minimum and keep your full focus on the road throughout your journey.
Pull In and Out of Driveways Slowly
If there are any kids out trick-or-treating they might be too excited to look out for cars pulling off of driveways, so make sure that you’re looking out for them. Don’t just assume the footpath is clear, especially during the early evening. Ease off your driveway gently and keep checking both ways – little monsters could appear at any time.
Don’t speed up too much once you’ve pulled away either. Give yourself plenty of time to react to anyone crossing the road by driving slightly below the maximum speed limit. If a child is paying more attention to their sweets, they won’t necessarily see or hear you coming, so you’ve got to spot them instead.
Drive With Headlights On
To give any trick-or-treaters the best chance of spotting you, keep your headlights on whenever you drive on Halloween – even if you don’t think you need them. A bright light is more likely to alert a distracted child to your presence – leave the sneaking around to the creatures lurking in the shadows…
Be More Aware of Your Surroundings
Monsters lurk around every corner on Halloween. A little mummy could emerge from between two parked cars or a vampire peel out of the shadows without any warning. When you’re driving, scan your surroundings much more than you normally would, looking closely in the shadows. You never know what you might be about to see…
Give Pedestrians Priority
The promise of free sweets is more than enough to make any child step into the road without considering what might be driving towards them. Never expect a child to ‘Stop, Look, Listen’ on Halloween – you probably didn’t at their age! If they’re halfway across, slow down or stop to let them finish crossing safely and remember that children take longer to cross the road than you would, so give them the time they need.
Take Extra Precautions On the Road
Anticipate the worst-case scenario for everything. If you’re driving between 5:00pm and 8:00pm, there will likely be much more pedestrian traffic than at other times so if you can avoid driving during these hours, it’s best to do so. Otherwise, expect the unexpected.
Don’t Overtake Cars Parked on the Road
It might not be the strangest thing you’ll see during your evening, but it’s worth approaching these situations with care. It could be parents dropping off or picking up their children, so you might see a horde of zombies staggering towards or away from the car without paying attention to you. Make sure the coast is clear before proceeding and, if possible, stop and wait for the car in front to pull away before you.
Don’t Drive Under the Influence of Alcohol
This isn’t a tip solely for Halloween but it’s even more important on this evening. Alcohol affects your perception and processing time, meaning a drunk driver will be much less likely to react to the unexpected on the roads. Don’t risk a life – nominate a sober driver or use a taxi should you celebrate Halloween with something a bit stronger than sweets.
Be Prepared For Pranks or Would-be Thieves
There are some things darker than trick-or-treaters prowling the streets on Halloween.. Keep your car well-alarmed and remove all your valuables from it to deter anyone from trying to break in. If possible, keep some form of lighting or camera focused on it as well – you don’t want to be cleaning egg or silly string off it come the morning. The feeling of being watched could put some kids off mindless vandalism and keep your car clean for November.
How to Keep Your Little Monsters Safe This Halloween
For many kids, trick-or-treating is the best part of Halloween. The thrill of dressing up, staying up late and, of course, free sweets gets them all excited every year. But do you know the best ways to keep them safe when you’re out on this night of horrors? Here are our top ten tips to keep your kids safe on Halloween.
Take Them Out Early
The best time to go trick-or-treating is between 5:00pm and 8:00pm, regardless of the age of your kids. Most people will be home during those hours and you’re less likely to wake anyone up by knocking on their door. And make sure they don’t stay out too late – remind them they’re only a monster for one night and, should they not do their homework, they’ll be faced with dreaded detention the following day.
Plan the Route and Stick to Well-lit Areas
Whether you’re going out with your kids or not, make sure they’ve got a route plan laid out beforehand. Pick a few streets to target and make sure they don’t wander, especially if they don’t know the area very well. Avoid dark alleys as well.
Take to the Streets With a Ghoulish Group
Your kids will enjoy their trick-or-treating experience even more if they can go out with their friends. Try and go out with them, especially if they’re young, but, for those that no longer need supervision, make sure they’re going around in groups of at least two or three, if not more. Make sure they phone in regularly and set a strict time for them to return home.
Make Sure They’re Warm and Visible
No matter how much your kids might protest, make sure they’ve got several layers on beneath their costumes and have a coat and something reflective to wear while they’re walking around. That way, you won’t get any grumpy, sick monsters come the following morning and drivers will stand a better chance of seeing them in the dark.
Only Knock Where it Looks Like You’re Welcome
Even if you know who lives in the house, it’s still worth making sure your kids check whether they’re in the Halloween spirit or not. Some people don’t like the holiday for a variety of reasons so only knock if you can see Halloween decorations in the window, on the outside of the house or if you’ve seen others come away with treats. Make sure your kids know not to knock if they see one of these signs – these people definitely don’t want to be scared.
Only Go to Houses Where You Know the Residents
If you know who’s going to open the door, you’ll feel a lot safer when your kids are out trick-or-treating. And if you know who’s opening the door, chances are they’ll know you as well, so you might be able to get a few more treats for your trouble!
Never Enter Someone’s House
If they haven’t come to the door holding sweets, chances are your kids will only get a trick if they follow them inside. If you’re out with them, make sure you stay within earshot of what’s going on and be prepared to step in should the situation become uncomfortable – there will be plenty more sweets on offer at other houses. People who are participating in trick-or-treating will have sweets to hand when you knock or tell you to wait outside while they get them.
Reinforce Proper Road Crossing Practice
No matter how much fun your kids are having with their friends, you should make sure they know how to cross the road safely. Drivers may struggle to see trick-or-treaters in the dark, especially with their costumes on, so make sure your kids are looking out for them as much as possible. Respect the night as much as any other, if not more so.
Take a Torch
Even if you’re sticking to well-lit areas, the street-lighting might not be the greatest. Your kids should take a torch and spare batteries with them and carry it face-down in whatever they’re collecting sweets in. Make sure they know not to shine it in people’s faces or through car windscreens because who knows who they will see behind the steering wheel…
Keep it Fun For Everyone
Some people might not be at home but will still leave their sweets in a bowl on the doorstep. Make sure your kids don’t get greedy – others will want to visit this house as well and come away with some treats. If they go out alone, make sure they’re aware not to play any pranks or be anti-social. Trick-or-treating should be fun for kids of all ages, so don’t let your more grown-up kids scare any little monsters away.
Make sure you enjoy Halloween as much as possible this year but stay safe. You never know what you might see…