Friday, October 29, 2010

Watch Out For Real Halloween Horrors

This time of year, I am wrapped up in the Halloween preparations like most people. The house is decorated and candy bought, but we’re still trying to find the pieces to complete costumes for a night of trick-or-treating fun. And while we all know the typical dangers to look out for on this night like tampered candy and ill-fitting costumes, many of us don’t think about some of the other really scary dangers like drunk drivers.

In fact, Halloween is a particularly deadly night due to impaired drivers. According to a study over a 20-year period by the National Highway Traffic Safety administration, four times the number of elementary and middle school-aged children were killed by a car or truck on Halloween when compared to all other evenings.

In 2008, 58 percent of all highway fatalities across the nation on Halloween night involved an impaired driver. In 2009 in Missouri, there were six people killed and 34 seriously injured in traffic crashes during the Halloween weekend. Of the six people killed, two involved an impaired driver and 80 percent were unbuckled.

So for everyone planning a Halloween party for more than the kids, keep in mind the following tips:
* Plan a safe way home before the festivities begin.
* Before drinking, designate a sober driver and give that person your keys.
* If you’re impaired, take a taxi, call a sober friend or family member, or use public transportation.
* If you suspect a drunk driver on the road, contact your local law enforcement.
* Always buckle up. It’s your best defense in a crash.
* Slow down and stay alert!

Besides looking out for impaired drivers, all motorists need to be aware that on a night such as Halloween, children dressed in costumes can run out onto streets and roadways. To avoid real-life Halloween horrors, remember the following if you are trick or treating with your kids:
* Walk on sidewalks if at all possible.
* Make sure cars can see you by wearing reflective strips and carry a flashlight.
* Don’t assume a vehicle is going to stop for you – the driver may not be paying attention or see you.
* Watch carefully for kids in the streets and stay close to your own little “monsters.”

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