It’s that spooky time of year when ghosts, vampires, witches and superheroes are out and about wandering the streets and looking for treats. With Halloween in Australia becoming more and more popular, road safety is more important than ever.
Pedestrian fatalities are always a tragedy, and in 2018 8% of pedestrian fatalities were aged 0-16. Halloween can be one of the most dangerous nights of the year for children in particular, so here are some tips to help protect our most vulnerable on a night when pedestrian numbers are high on the streets.
With all the excitement of trick-or-treating, road safety will probably be the last thing on your child’s mind so it can be a good time to reinforce those messages about looking both ways twice before crossing the road and not to run off alone.
Children are accompanied by an adult
Children under 12 have limited peripheral vision and aren’t as conscious of road safety as older children and adults. Having an extra set of eyes on the lookout can never go astray.
Trick-or-treat earlier in the evening
Timing your trick-or-treating can help keep children safe. By going around the neighbourhood while there’s still light out, you’ll be more visible for drivers.
Trick or treat on paths or sidewalks
Try to go from house-to-house by travelling on paths or sidewalks rather than on the road. Go up one side of the street then cross over to the other side rather than criss-crossing many times. It can be hard for drivers to see pedestrians after sunset, especially if there are no street lights.
Make sure costumes don’t limit visibility
Costumes that include masks can obscure children’s eyesight, particularly their peripheral vision which can make it dangerous for them to be on and near roads. Face paint can be a safer alternative to masks.
If possible make your child’s costume more visible by using bright colours. Darker costumes can easily blend into the dark after sunset while brighter colours will stand out more.
Drive safely without distractions, especially through residential areas
Make sure when you are driving in residential areas to drive with extra caution and remove all distractions from the vehicle. Turn your mobile phone onto silent or off completely so you won’t be tempted to use it.
Give children flashlights so they can see and be seen
Flashlights serve both as a means for children to see better and for them to be seen by drivers and other trick-or-treaters.
Set an agreed upon route
If trick-or-treating alone, make sure you have an agreed upon route to follow and also to have a meeting place if travelling in a group, where members of the party who get separated or lost can rendezvous at.
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