Thursday, October 22, 2015
Traveling By Car This Halloween in NH?
Did you know that the most exciting American holiday is also the deadliest? According to a 21-year study by Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS), an average of 5.5 road fatalities occur on October 31, about double the average daily record on any other days. And about a quarter of road accidents occur between 6:00-7:00 PM, which is also the busiest trick or treating hour. Most accidents were found to occur away from crosswalks or intersections. And the children most at risk were between ages 12 to 15, followed by ages 5 to 8.
Among drivers, those between ages 15-25 account for nearly a third of all fatal accidents during Halloween, while ages 36-65 were least at risk. Fortunately, car accident fatality occurrences in New Hampshire have been one of the lowest nationwide. And in general, frequencies of Halloween-related car accidents have been declining over the years. But of course you don’t want to be part of the statistics or be a cause of a fatality, do you?
Here are some Halloween safety tips for drivers and passengers.
• Wear your seatbelt at all times, even if you’re not driving fast.
• Follow traffic signs and lights, even when there are no vehicles on opposing lanes
• When you spot a group of trick or treaters, make a full stop and let them all cross. Look around to see if any child might be trying to catch up with the group.
• Turn your headlights on even when it is not fully dark.
• Never drink and drive. If you drink, make sure that you have a designated non-drinking driver to take your place at the wheel just in case you’ve had one drink too many.
• If you are in costume and are driving, make sure that your costume doesn’t get in the way of being able to hold the wheel or stepping on pedals. Take off gloves, headgear, footwear, or masks that may impede with your driving and cause accidents.
• Avoid boisterous behavior in a moving car as it might distract the driver.
• Slow down on dimly-lit streets and always be on the lookout for children or animals that may get in your path.
And for trick or treaters:
• Watch out for approaching vehicles. Don’t cross until the vehicle has made a full stop.
• Adults should accompany kids or siblings who are younger than 12.
• Obey traffic lights and signs.
• Bring flashlights or lamps, but not matches or lighters.
• Stick close to the other people in your group and don’t wander away by yourself. Cross together with the others.
• Don’t wear headgear that could block your sight. When walking, pull up your mask so you can see where you’re going.
By Richard Monteith