Halloween third deadliest day for pedestrians

Published: Oct. 27, 2017 at 12:36 PM EDT
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As we count down the days to Halloween, costumes and candy come to mind. But one thing everyone needs to be thinking about is safety.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that Halloween is consistently one of the top three days for pedestrian injuries and fatalities, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that children are four times more likely to be struck by a motor vehicle on Halloween than any other day of the year.

According to crash data provided by the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV), last year Virginia pedestrian fatalities were up more than 50% compared to 2015 with the majority of pedestrian fatalities occurring in the months of October, November, March and December.

“With an increased risk of pedestrian crashes on Halloween night, AAA urges parents to take the time to make trick-or-treaters and their costumes more visible to motorists,” said Tammy Arnette, Senior Public Affairs Specialist for AAA. “In addition, motorists must slow down and watch for children, as well as have a designated driver if drinking is part of a Halloween celebration.”

Halloween is also a statistically dangerous night for drunk driving.

Although Halloween falls on a Tuesday this year, many parties will take place this weekend. Drivers must also take into consideration that some neighborhoods have scheduled trick-or-treating for this weekend as well. '

AAA says one third of Halloween crash fatalities involve a pedestrian and the holiday ranks third deadliest day of the year for pedestrians. Children are also four times more likely to be struck by a motor vehicle on Halloween than any other day of the year.

To stay safe this Halloween, AAA recommends:


  • Slow down in residential neighborhoods and obey all traffic signs and signals. Drive at least 5 mph below the posted speed limit to give yourself extra time to react to children who may dart into the street.
  • Look for children crossing the street. They may not be paying attention to traffic and may cross the street mid-block or between parked cars.
  • Carefully enter and exit driveways and alleys.
  • Turn your headlights on to make yourself more visible – even in the daylight.
  • Broaden your scanning by looking for children left and right into yards and on front porches.
  • Stay on sidewalks and avoid walking in streets if possible.
  • If there are no sidewalks, walk on the left side of the road, facing traffic.
  • Look both ways and listen for traffic before crossing the street.
  • Cross streets only at the corner, and never cross between parked vehicles or mid-block.
  • Trick-or-treat in a group if someone older cannot go with you.
  • Tell your parents where you are going.
  • Carry a flashlight containing fresh batteries, and place it face down in the treats bucket to free up one hand. Never shine flashlights into the eyes of oncoming drivers.


The Harrisonburg Police Department says the city does not determine, enforce, or coordinate a trick-or-treat time, but encourages neighbors to speak with those in their neighborhood.

HPD will have additional officers out between 5:00 p.m. and 9:00 p.m. in the city's neighborhoods to ensure safety.

They add to only trick-or-treat at homes with lights on and never approach vehicles that offer candy. They also suggest to wear bright clothing or put glow sticks and strips on costumes so drivers can see you, as well as carrying a flashlight.

HPD reminds people to walk in the direction facing traffic and use sidewalks when they are available and put electronic devices down and your head up when crossing streets.