On Halloween Night, Drive Like Frankenstein Moves – Very Slowly
Don Logan is a veteran FedEx Freight driver and the 2012 National Truck Driving Champion, a distinction validated by his safety expertise and career achievement with over 2 million accident-free miles behind-the-wheel.
As a professional driver, my twenty-five years on the road has taught me that not only is safe driving a priority all the time, it’s a necessity during the holidays. Halloween, while meant to be spooky, can be frightening for parents as they send out their little trick-or-treaters for the night. The statistics back up these fears – twice as many child pedestrians are killed on Halloween compared to any other day of the year.
As parents, we warn our children to be careful while trick-or-treating, but as drivers we need to also make an effort to keep safety in mind. Here are some of my tips to make sure the only scares you experience this Halloween are in a haunted house and not out on the road.
- Think Frankenstein: move slowly and deliberately. Halloween night is not the time to cut corners on safety just to save a few minutes. Build some extra time into your commute to account for the number of pedestrians on the streets trick-or-treating. That way there’s no rush – you’ll be slowly moving through intersections and when exiting or entering driveways. And remember to give pedestrians in cumbersome costumes plenty of time to clear your path. Keep your distance from the drivers in front of you by driving slower and anticipate that they could be distracted by the festivities.
- You may dress like a zombie but don’t act like one. On Halloween night, excited children may dash into the road to get to the next house on their trick-or-treating route. So don’t “put it on cruise control” when you’re commuting home! Stay especially alert in residential neighborhoods and leave cell phone use for when you’re off the road (advice that applies all year round!). Use your turn signals when changing lanes and pay close attention to crosswalks – you can never be too careful when it comes to being alert on the road.
- The glow of jack o’ lanterns won’t be enough to light your path. As the days grow shorter while we head into winter, it’s important to remember to turn your headlights on, even as early as 5 or 6 in the evening. On Halloween, children can be dressed in dark costumes and blend into the evening light. Make sure you check your headlights before Halloween and use them during the holiday so you can spot every child in your path!
- Be careful transporting your little goblins and ghouls. If you choose to drive your children from house to house, make sure to pull over in a safe, well-lit place and turn on your hazard lights. You want to make sure other motorists are aware you are stopped and that they see your children as they are exiting the car. Children should always exit the car curbside.
- Hang up your broomstick – consider relaxing in your lair for the evening. Unless you need to use your car on Halloween evening, consider staying home or using alternate methods of transportation (walking, biking or public transportation) to go about your business. Why? Because more than twice as many children are killed in pedestrian/vehicle incidents on Halloween between 4 and 10 p.m. than on a normal evening. By staying home, you help reduce traffic and keep trick-or-treaters safe. Besides, someone needs to be home to hand out all that candy!
Remember, these are tips to keep in mind all the time, not just during Halloween. Here’s to a fun (and safe!) Halloween for you and your family!