DOTs recommend pedestrian, commuter vigilance on Halloween

punkinsDepartments of transportation are reminding motorists and pedestrians to be more aware today during evening commute times as trick-or-treaters make their rounds.

Reports of pedestrian injuries and fatalities typically increase on Halloween. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) says in 2013 pedestrian fatalities on Halloween accounted for 31 percent of all traffic fatalities, double the figure for the average day that year.

The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) reports there were 28 crashes in the state involving pedestrians last year during the Halloween weekend. The agency reports the last time it fell on a Monday, 2011, there were 31 creashes involving pedestrians.

The agency has created a list of safety tips for pedestrians for the night.

  • Always cross the street at a corner and look left, right, and left again.
  • Obey traffic signals while crossing streets. Never try to beat the light.
  • If there is no sidewalk, walk on the left hand side of the road – facing traffic.
  • Never walk out between parked cars.
  • Carry a flashlight and/or wear reflective tape.
  • Lift masks while walking house to house and don’t cut across yards or driveways.
  • Always trick-or-treat in groups.

With the evening commute in mind, the Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT) has developed a few driving tips for Halloween:

  • If possible, try to make an earlier start in the afternoon to avoid the scariest traffic. Freeway traffic builds between 4-6 p.m. in what has come to be known as the “witching hour.”
  • Be patient and recognize that it may take longer to get home. Take your time.
  • Don’t let down your guard when you’re nearing home. Remember: superheroes, princesses and too-old-to-be-trick-or-treating teenagers will be crossing streets in your neighborhood and might not be paying attention.

State DOTs will also increase vigilance for impaired drivers for the holiday . NHTSA says Halloween is statistically a bad night for drunk driving. According to its figures, last Halloween, 52 percent of all highway fatalities across the country involved a motorist with a blood alcohol content of 0.08 or higher.