Halloween is approaching and that means lots of excited children, ready to get out there trick-or-treating and enjoying the festivities. But with increased footfall on the pavements on the evening of October 31 – or even nights around that date – comes the associated risk of accidents on the roads. Here are our top tips to help you avoid those little ghouls and goblins who are out and about at Halloween.
Drive slowly in residential areas
An obvious one to start, but little ‘undead’ trick-or-treaters are going to be most commonly found wandering around housing estates and residential streets in the hours from about 4pm to 9pm. They’re not going to be in the very middle of towns or cities – although it’s still advisable, as a driver, to take extra care on these roads as there may be older Halloween revellers who have enjoyed a few drinks in the later hours of the night. Even if the limit is 50km/h in a street lined with houses, it’s perhaps best to go a bit slower, because the children will be excited and distracted as they go from door to door collecting their bounty – and therefore, their minds won’t be 100 per cent laser-focused on their road safety.
Take extra care when entering or exiting your driveway
On a similar theme, if you’re leaving your house or arriving home from work after the sun has gone down on Halloween, go super-slow as you drive onto or off your driveway. You might not normally have any visitors in the evening, but obviously any children on the hunt for confectionary will be coming to your front door. They’re also usually small, so perhaps not visible above the lower window line of your car – which means you should inch your car onto your driveway as carefully as you can to avoid an accident. Also, if your car has cameras for reversing or even 360-degree views around the vehicle, make sure they’re all as spotless as can be before starting your journey, giving you an extra chance to spot that three-foot-four werewolf wandering along in your blind spot.
Give way to the children
While you might have right of way in certain circumstances, would it really hurt you to stop your car and wave a few vampiric children across the roads? No, it won’t. If you’ve followed our first tip of driving slowly, then it won’t be any effort at all to let hordes of creatures of the night cross safely in front of you – you’re then ensuring their safety, as other drivers should spot you’ve stopped and wait for the children to cross as well.
Make sure your lights and tyres are in tip-top condition
This counts all year round, but make sure all your lights are working and are as bright as they can possibly be, so that you can easily spot witches and the like on the pavements at a distance, and also ensure your tyres have plenty of tread and are properly inflated, in case you suddenly need to make an emergency stop to avoid hitting a tiny zombie who’s staggered out into the road. Also ensure your screen wash is topped up before you head out, as the weather and road surfaces are likely to be grimy at the end of October, so you need to be able to see clearly out of your windscreen at all times – which’ll mean using plenty of wash-wipe on your journey.
Don’t be distracted by fireworks
Halloween is often marked with fireworks displays. These look very, very pretty in the night sky and you can almost get a ‘free’ show if you’re driving any great distance while they’re going on. But remember not to stare at the fireworks for too long if you’re the driver, because then you’ve taken your eyes off the road ahead – and that’s precisely when accidents can happen.
Never, ever take the gloomy-looking fork in the road in a forest
We’ve all seen it in films and TV – a character reaches a fork in the road, with two options. Down one are lovely green trees, birds singing, a few shafts of golden sunlight… but it’s a longer route. The other is a dark, twisted forest of malformed trees and unspecified glowing eyes, yet it’s direct. Don’t, whatever you do, choose the latter if you’re in your car on Halloween and you want to take a shortcut home…