A traffic safety triple threat converges with COVID-19 concerns this holiday
COLUMBUS, Ohio (October 26, 2020) – As Halloween 2020 quickly approaches, AAA is raising concerns for a dangerous traffic safety triple threat – increased pedestrian activity in many communities, impaired driving, and the end of Daylight Savings Time, which means an extra hour for celebrations.
While many celebrations will look different this year, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, AAA urges Ohioans to Be Smart. Be Safe. Be Seen. when celebrating this Halloween.
“Historically, when Halloween falls on a Thursday, Friday or Saturday, motor vehicle crashes jump nearly 50%, according to AAA Foundation statistics,” said Kellie O’Riordan, traffic safety program manager for AAA Ohio Auto Club. “While 2020 is anything but typical, the cards are aligned for disastrous consequences if Ohioans don’t celebrate responsibly.”
Be Smart. – Prevent the Spread of COVID-19
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), some Halloween activities can increase the risk of getting or spreading COVID-19 or influenza. AAA recommends following the CDC guidelines regarding Halloween celebrations, which can be found on the CDC’s Halloween webpage: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/daily-life-coping/holidays/halloween.html?ACSTrackingID=USCDC_2067-DM40330&ACSTrackingLabel=Tips%20for%20Trick%20or%20Treating%20and%20Other%20Halloween%20Activities%20%7C%20COVID-19&deliveryName=USCDC_2067-DM40330
Be Safe. – Stay Sober and Alert on the Roads.
Halloween is traditionally a dangerous night for drunk driving. This year, in addition to Halloween celebrations, many fans will also be holding football celebrations, as The Ohio State University Buckeyes will play the Penn State Nittany Lions at 7:30 p.m. on Oct. 31. The end of Daylight Savings Time also gives Ohioans an extra hour to celebrate.
While Beggars’ Night schedules vary by community, motorists should be aware that children in some areas will be out trick-or-treating on Halloween night.
“The combination of drinking and increased pedestrian traffic on Halloween can have deadly consequences,” said O’Riordan. “In fact, the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety has found Halloween night – between 4 p.m. and midnight – is the deadliest night of the year for pedestrians.”
While the CDC continues to recommend against large gatherings, AAA urges those that will be out driving or celebrating this week to:
.Plan ahead. Check Beggars’ Night dates for municipalities you drive through each day.
.Slow down! A pedestrian is nearly twice as likely to be killed if they’re hit by a car going 30 mph compared to if they’re hit at 25 mph, according to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety. Just 5 mph can be the difference between life and death.
.Stay Alert. Ditch the distractions and keep an eye out for trick-or-treaters. Be aware that they may not be paying attention to traffic and may cross mid-block or between parked cars. It’s important to always scan the road ahead.
.Obey all traffic signs and signals. Stop at all stop signs.
.Drive sober: Alcohol-impaired drivers make up about a third of all motor vehicle deaths nationally, resulting in an average of one death every 45 minutes. Always designate a sober driver or call a cab or ride sharing service.
Be Seen. – Increase Visibility When Out Celebrating.
Both motorists and trick-or-treaters should do their part to ensure both are visible this Halloween. AAA recommends parents and trick-or-treaters:
.Choose disguises that don’t obstruct vision. Opt for non-toxic face paint or incorporate a cloth face mask into the costume, instead of wearing a bulky costume mask that blocks vision.
.Carry a flashlight and add reflective tape to costumes or bags.
.Ensure costumes fit well. Check and adjust the length of costumes to prevent tripping.
.Follow road rules. Cross streets only at the corner. Never cross between parked cars or mid-block. This could catch drivers off-guard. If there are no sidewalks, walk on the left side of the road, facing traffic.
In addition, drivers should make sure their headlights are working and turned on to ensure they’re visible to trick-or-treaters and other road users. This will also help in spotting trick-or-treaters when driving on dark roads.
For additional information visit The AAA Exchange Halloween Safety webpage: https://exchange.aaa.com/safety/child-safety/halloween-safety/#.X5hNxlhKjZ5