COVID-19 UPDATE from Bellas & Wachowski

Prepare For An Extra Scary Halloween

Published on October 24th, 2020

Last year we experienced cold and snow on Halloween and this year will be equally eventful as the holiday falls on a Saturday and we have a global pandemic to boot! Everyone should take extra precautions to ensure the holiday does not end up resulting in a horrifying accidental injury or death. To help you prepare for Halloween 2020, we have pulled together some driving, walking and Covid-related safety tips.

Deadliest Days for Pedestrian Accidents

While ghosts and goblins roam the streets on Halloween in search of treats, drivers need to keep their eyes on the road and rid their mind of anything that could distract their driving. October 31 is one of the deadliest days for pedestrian accidents (according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA)). Below are helpful tips to better prepare and keep everyone safe on the scariest day of the year.

  • Do Not Drive Distracted: Distracted driving is now one of the biggest causes of auto accidents. Whether using a phone, applying makeup, eating a snack or changing the radio station – it’s never a good idea to take your eyes off the road. On Halloween it’s even more important as children can easily dart across the road and the distraction could be devastating.
  • Keep Your Eyes Peeled: Stay very alert by scanning street corners, crosswalks and the road as children can be anywhere and can quickly run into the street. Many communities allow trick-or-treating until 7 PM and as evening approaches, it may be harder to see children who are wearing dark costumes and equally important, costumes could hinder a child’s ability to clearly see your vehicle.
  • Keep Your Headlights On: Having headlights on during the day is always a good idea and on Halloween it’s even more important as it will allow trick-or-treaters to see your vehicle at all times. When night approaches, make sure you do not use your bright headlights as they could pose a much bigger problem by blinding pedestrians and/or other drivers and ultimately causing an accident.
  • Turn Your Radio Off: To further reduce distractions while driving, it is highly recommended drivers turn the radio off or keep the sound low enough to hear noises while in a moving vehicle.
  • Drive Under The Speed Limit: Drivers need to be prepared to respond quickly and yield to pedestrians as children will be going from house to house and may not pay attention before running across the street.
  • Back Up With Caution: Use extreme caution when exiting driveways or pulling onto streets and be mindful of blind spots in the back and sides of your vehicle.
  • Stay Safe, Stay Sober: From 2013 to 2017, NHTSA reported that 42% of all people killed in a motor vehicle crash involved drunk driving. It’s simple, don’t drink and drive on Halloween or any other time. If you plan to drink then plan to designate a sober driver, take public transportation or arrange for a taxi to get from one place to another. Walking inebriated can be equally as dangerous as driving impaired.

Chauffeuring Trick-Or-Treaters Safely

If you plan on driving trick-or-treaters to one destination or more, please follow these safe driving tips.

  • Buckle Up: Illinois requires everyone in a vehicle to buckle up – whether in a car seat or with a seatbelt. This also means every single time a child or adult gets in the car they must buck up. Adults driving kids for Halloween activities may be tempted to forgo buckling up because of short distances or due to costumes but that’s no excuse to break the law and risk lives.
  • Safe Exiting: When dropping passengers off at any location, pull over to the curb and have everyone exit away from traffic. Passengers should never open a door on the traffic side of the vehicle. For added protection, drivers can use hazard lights to alert other drivers in the area. Also, attempt to park in a spot that you will not need to back up and especially with traffic.
  • No Distractions: In Illinois it is illegal to use your cell phone or any other device while driving or even stopped at a red light. If you need to use your phone, pull over to the side of the road.
  • Car Seats: Make sure children are properly secured into their car seat and if their costume gets in the way then remove it while in the vehicle.

Pedestrian Safety on Halloween

The tips below are from the NHTSA and the Department of Transportation.

  • Trick-Or-Treating:
    • For children 12 and under, parents should accompany.
    • Kids should walk and not run through from each house and, where possible, stay on sidewalks versus walking on the road and even on laws where they might trip.
    • Adults need to remind kids to watch for cars when crossing driveways or streets and that even though they are pedestrians, they should never assume they have the right of way – especially if a motorist may not see them.
    • Finish up before it is truly dark, especially with young children.
  • Costumes:
    • It is advised that children should wear lighter color costumes and should include reflective material so it is easier for drivers to see them.
    • Never buy a costume that makes it more difficult for your child to see, especially ones that include masks. If a mask is necessary, children may want to remove it when moving between houses for greatest visibility.
    • Provide everyone walking in the dark with a flashlight.
    • Do not put a child in a car seat with a costume that is padded as it can compress in a crash and prevent the seat from providing optimal protection.

Trick-or-Treat Pandemic Safety

If your family chooses to trick-or-treat during COVID-19, make a plan in advance to be safe.

  • Mask Up: Male sure kids are wearing at least a two-ply face mask when trick-or-treating and if they attend any gatherings. Most costume masks will not be effective in stopping the spread of the virus. If your child will be wearing a protective mask and a costume mask, make sure they can breathe comfortably – especially if they are going to be walking or running.
  • Limit Number of Houses/People: It’s highly encouraged to keep trick-or-treating to a small group and that children should only go to a few homes on your block or better yet, visit friends or family. Have hand wipes and/or hand sanitizer ready and in use between homes to further reduce risk of spreading the virus.
  • Social Distance: Stay at minimum six feet from others.
  • Plan Ahead To Avoid Contact. If you hand out treats this year, you should wear masks and gloves and stay outside the front door or at the end of your driveway or yard. Keep kids from touching any surfaces and reaching into a communal candy bowl. It is advised to set up a one-way route to maintain social distancing.
  • Stay home If You’re Sick:  If any of your family members are feeling sick or think you may have been exposed to the coronavirus, please stay home and quarantine.

Contact an Illinois Personal Injury Attorney Today
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