As the Halloween tradition of trick-or-treat night approaches, safety should be a primary concern for parents, children, and motorists. This is why the Ohio State Highway Patrol is reminding both pedestrians and motorists to be vigilant while communities are hosting their trick-or-treat nights.
“Trick-or-treat is always a fun night for our youth, but they must remain on the lookout for cars as they go from house to house,” said Governor Mike DeWine. “If we all work together, we can ensure that kids have a safe night as they participate in trick-or-treat activities.”
During the last five years, pedestrian-involved crashes have increased. From 2014-2018, there were 13,728 pedestrian-involved crashes in Ohio resulting in 629 fatalities and 12,748 injuries of pedestrians. Pedestrians were at fault in half of fatal crashes with improper crossing being the leading cause.
“Children of all ages will be in costumes and walking throughout our neighborhoods,” said Colonel Richard S. Fambro, Patrol superintendent. “I am encouraging all motorists to be cognizant of the increased pedestrian traffic and drive with caution.”
Fulton County Sheriff Roy Miller said Halloween traffic in rural parts of the Fulton County is minimal, since most people living there take their children to nearby towns for quick access.
However, there are some rural subdivisions that get trick or treat traffic, and Miller said precautions are the same in any area. He advised going to homes of people the parents know and having children wear brightly-colored costumes. If driving from house to house in the country, use four-way lights to alert other motorists of your slower movement.
“Be aware of traffic wherever you are,” Miller said.
He said deputies try to have a presence Halloween night in communities with no police departments, such as Lyons, Pettisville, and Metamora. He also warned that Halloween vandalism, however good-natured, can be subject to criminal charges.
Pedestrians and motorists can follow these tips to increase pedestrian safety:
• Walk on sidewalks whenever they are available. When no sidewalk is available, walk facing traffic as far away from the edge of the roadway as possible.
• Stay alert at all times, motorists and pedestrians should be prepared in case a hazardous situation arises.
• Don’t be distracted by electronic devices that take your eyes and ears off the road.
• Pedestrians should wear bright or reflective clothing and costumes and carry flashlights on the side closest to traffic.
• Pedestrians should cross where motorists expect them to, follow pedestrian signs and signals, and never assume a driver can see you.
• Motorists are required to yield to pedestrians in a marked crosswalk and in unmarked crosswalks at intersections.
• Motorists can use bright headlights when legally able to illuminate the roadway and possibly spot a pedestrian walking near the roadway.
• Motorists should slow down and drive cautiously in residential areas.