See and be seen: Safety tips, and rules, for Halloween

Oregon State Police, county and local law enforcement agencies and the Oregon Department of Transportation have a message for Halloween night travelers: Be alert while driving and keep the Halloween party off the roads.

“Consider this reminder our ‘treat’ to you. When driving in neighborhoods or going to a Halloween party or event, watch for trick-or-treaters that may appear in your path unexpectedly. Just taking an extra moment can make all the difference,” said Capt. Ted Phillips, director of Oregon State Police Patrol Services Division.

Nighttime is a dangerous time to be on the road, but Halloween night can be one of the deadliest of the year for crashes involving impaired drivers. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, from 2007 to 2011, 52 percent of all national fatalities occurring on Halloween night involved a drunk driver.

Following three straight years of no Halloween night traffic fatalities in Oregon, ODOT’s Fatality Analysis Reporting System reported two traffic fatalities during last year’s Halloween night. FARS statistics between 1998 and 2008 tell a scarier story as 90 percent of the fatalities (10) on Halloween night in Oregon occurred in alcohol and/or drug-involved traffic crashes.

“Plan your outing in advance with a designated sober driver to avoid the serious consequences that come with driving while impaired,” said Phillips.

Children are more than twice as likely to be hit by a car and killed on Halloween than on any other day of the year; the phrase to remember is, “See and Be Seen.”

ODOT, OSP and local law enforcement agencies offer these simple reminders for a safer Halloween:

For all drivers:

n Before the Halloween festivities begin, plan now to make sure you and all trick-or-treaters get home safely.

n Slow down in residential neighborhoods and obey all traffic signs and signals.

n Slow down on streets where there are no sidewalks and children are walking on or near street and shoulder of the road.

n Enter and exit driveways and alleys slowly and cautiously. Have child passengers enter and exit cars on the curb side, away from traffic.

For adult traffic safety:

n Be responsible — never drive impaired.

n If you plan to drink, choose your sober driver before going out.

n Be aware of weather and traffic conditions before you leave, adjusting your speed and driving to the conditions.

n If impaired, use mass transit, call a cab or ask a sober friend to get you home.

n If all else fails, just stay where you are and sleep it off.

n Always buckle up — it’s still your best defense against an impaired driver.

n If hosting a Halloween party, make sure all guests leave with a sober driver.

For parents and children:

n Dress children in bright costumes. Use reflective tape or stickers on dark costumes.

n Apply face paint or cosmetics appropriate for children directly to the face. It is safer than a loose-fitting mask that can obstruct a child’s vision.

n If a mask is worn, cut the eyeholes large enough for full vision.

n Have children carry flashlights or glow sticks to improve their visibility.

n Secure hats so they will not slip over children’s eyes.

n Remind children to cross streets only at intersections.

n Teach them to stop and look for cars, looking to the left, right and left again before crossing, and then to keep looking both ways for cars while they cross.

n Teach them never to dart into a street or cross a street from between parked cars.

Elementary-age pedestrians are at highest risk because they:

n Have a field of vision one-third narrower than an adult’s.

n Are unable to determine the direction of sounds.

n Cannot accurately judge the speed or distance of moving vehicles.

n Overestimate their abilities.

n Are easily hidden by parked cars, bushes, leaf piles, trash bins, etc.

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