Frightening fact: Halloween is deadliest night for pedestrians - East Valley Tribune: Ahwatukee Foothills

Frightening fact: Halloween is deadliest night for pedestrians

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Posted: Monday, October 31, 2011 8:09 am | Updated: 11:21 am, Fri Oct 19, 2012.

On Halloween night, ghosts, goblins and ghouls fill the streets to celebrate. And if that's not scary enough, AAA uncovered some frightening statistics.

Oct. 31 is the deadliest night of the year for pedestrians, according to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety. Therefore, the auto club urges motorists and pedestrians to take extra precautions to avoid a traffic nightmare.

"On Halloween night, it's imperative for adults to be especially vigilant during nighttime hours, when pedestrians are most vulnerable," said Linda Gorman, director of communications and public affairs for AAA Arizona. "Whether walking or driving, AAA urges all road users to utilize extra caution, be mindful of their surroundings and celebrate responsibly."

To help make the roadways safer this Halloween, AAA urges motorists to take the following precautions:

• Avoid neighborhood shortcuts. If possible, avoid cutting through residential streets where trick-or-treaters are likely to be walking. Watch for pedestrians who may not see you, and avoid distractions. If providing directions to a party, try not to route guests through neighborhoods unnecessarily.

• Watch for children in the street. Watch for children walking on streets, driveways, medians and curbs. Excited trick-or-treaters, often in dark costumes, may have reduced visibility, and may not pay attention to traffic and cross mid-block or between parked cars.

• Slow down. According to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, a pedestrian is more than twice as likely to be killed if they're hit by a car traveling at 35 mph compared to 25 mph. What seems like a small difference - just 10 mph - can be the difference between life and death.

• Get home safe. If you plan to drink, or are hosting a party where alcohol will be consumed, ensure that you and/or your guests have a designated driver or another safe route home.

AAA offers the following tips for parents to help keep their trick-or-treaters safe:

• Trick-or-treat together. AAA recommends that parents accompany young trick-or-treaters.

• Make a plan. Review trick-or-treating safety precautions and plan the route ahead of time. Remind children to stop at the end of driveways to check for cars, and to never cross the street mid-block or between parked cars.

• Check costumes. Choose disguises that don't obstruct vision, and opt for non-toxic face paint instead of masks. Check and adjust the length of costumes to avoid tripping, and add reflective material or tape to keep kids visible. Trick-or-treaters should also carry a flashlight with fresh batteries to help them see and be seen.

• Buckle up. If driving trick-or-treaters between neighborhoods, always use appropriate car seats and have children exit and enter on the passenger side of the vehicle.

For additional tips to keep Halloween safe, including tips for parents and trick-or-treaters, visit AAA.com/trafficsafety.

• AAA Arizona, the Arizona affiliate of AAA, can be reached at AAA.com.

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