Pedestrian Safety Tips for Halloween

CHAPEL HILL, NC (October 21, 2009) - The Pedestrian and Bicycle Information Center offers the following tips for safety-related and general interest stories surrounding the upcoming Halloween holiday weekend.

Guidelines for safe walking at Halloween

1. Parents and Adults Should be Involved

Young children need a parent or other adult to go trick or treating with them. There is no magic age when children are old enough to walk alone. Parents need to judge when their children are mature enough to go without an adult.

Review crossing safety rules with children. Tell them to:

  • Even when adults are looking, always look for cars for yourself.
  • Stop at the curb and look left, right and left again for traffic.
  • Wait until no traffic is coming and begin crossing. Keep looking for traffic until you have finished crossing.
  • When crossing the street at an intersection, obey traffic signs and signals and look for yourself to see if cars are coming. Look left, right and left and then behind you and in front of you for turning cars.
  • Walk, don't run across the street.

2. Cross Safely

Choose the safest routes to walk.

  • Pick places where there are sidewalks or paths separated from traffic if possible.
  • Look for well-lit streets with slow traffic.
  • Remind children to watch for cars turning or pulling out of driveways.

Limit the number of street crossings. Avoid crossing busy or high-speed roads.

3. Be Visible

Think visibility. Wear bright colors, use retro reflective materials. Carry flashlights. In bad weather, visibility is even more important.

Choose homes that welcome Halloween visitors. Look for well lit driveways, walkways or paths to the front door.

Do a costume check. Can the children walk easily in the outfit? Make sure the masks or head gear allow the children to see clearly what is around them. Be sure they can safely negotiate steps on dimly lit walkways.

When taking a group of kids trick or treating:

Have a good ratio of parents/adults to children. For young children, consider 1 adult for every 3 children.

Arrange the adults so that there is an adult in the front and one in the back. This is to prevent children from getting ahead or lagging behind the group.

Plan how to cross streets:

  • Avoid busy, high-speed or multi-lane roads.
  • Give children exiting the street room to enter the sidewalk area.

Remember children are not miniature adults.

  • They often act before thinking.
  • They have one-third narrower side vision.
  • They can't judge speed.
  • They are shorter than adults and can't see over cars and bushes.

Make sure the children understand what is expected of them. Have a plan for dealing with disruptive kids.

Messages for Motorists:

Drive slowly through residential streets and areas where pedestrians trick-or-treating could be expected.

Watch for children darting out from between parked cars.

Watch for children walking on roadways, medians, and curbs.

Enter and exit driveways and alleys carefully.

At twilight and later in the evening, watch for children in dark clothing.

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Media Contacts

Caroline Dickson
919.962.5835
dickson@hsrc.unc.edu

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