As Halloween and the holiday season near and schedules get endlessly busier, it is easy to be distracted, especially behind the wheel. It might seem harmless to scarf down a quick bite while you commute to work, to pick up the kids, or to any of the other many activities that fill your day. Unfortunately, taking your eyes off the road and hands off the wheel can have catastrophic results.
Here’s a chilling fact from Safe Kids Worldwide: Kids are more than twice as likely to be hit by a car and killed on Halloween than on any other day of the year. As motorists, it’s especially important to be vigilant on the road as families travel through the neighborhoods on foot. And if you’re taking the kids trick-or-treating this weekend, keeping a close watch for cars is always a good idea.
The danger of distracted driving on Halloween underscores a big year-round problem. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, around 3,000 people are killed each year as a result of distracted driving. Nearly one out of every five people who are killed by distracted drivers are pedestrians – walkers, runners, bike riders, people on scooters. The majority of those deaths occur in cities, at non-intersection locations, and between 6 PM and midnight. On a night like Halloween, the risk of accidentally hitting a child – or anyone – due to distracted driving is higher than most other nights.
There are three different types of distracted driving: visual, manual, and cognitive. Visual distraction entails taking your eyes off the road. Manual distraction is taking your hands off the wheel and cognitive distraction is taking your mind off driving. Despite becoming more comfortable with driving the more years that you do it, the risks do not lessen. To help prevent tragedy on Halloween, and always, here are a few steps you can take:
- Put your phone on “Do Not Disturb” prior to driving.
- Assign distracting tasks to passengers such as navigation or music choice.
- Do not try to “multitask” while driving.
- Pull over and park if you need to complete a task other than driving.
- As the passenger, speak up if you notice the driver is distracted.
We’re a longtime supporter of End Distracted Driving (EndDD.org), a project of the Casey Feldman Foundation. Casey Feldman was just 21 years old when she was killed by a distracted driver while walking in a crosswalk during daytime hours. EndDD.org has a host of free resources to help prevent distracted driving and protect families from facing devastating tragedies. Now is the perfect time to check out the organization’s tips and information to make Halloween and every day a little safer on the road.