Halloween is this weekend. Here are some simple tips for a safer Halloween.
Don’t Drive Impaired!
Avoid using handheld electronic devices.
Remember that as soon as you step out of your car, you become a pedestrian.
If you see a drunk driver or impaired pedestrian on the road, contact local law enforcement.
Be especially alert for all road users, including pedestrians, at night.
Slow down in areas where pedestrians are likely to be or where sight distances are limited. Keep your windshield clean.
Walk on a sidewalk if one is available. If there is no sidewalk, walk facing traffic, as far to the side as safely possible so you can move quickly out of the road if you feel threatened by traffic. Drivers do not expect to see pedestrians in the roadway or to come out from between parked cars or behind shrubbery. Expect that drivers will not see you and wait for them to pass.
Follow the rules of the road at driveways and intersections. Cross with a traffic signal if there is one and even if you have the right of way, make sure traffic has stopped or passed before you step into the street. This will be easier to do if electronic devices do not distract you from picking up visual and auditory information about traffic.
Make yourself as visible to motorists as possible, especially at night and in low light, by carrying a flashlight, wearing a small flashing strobe light, and wearing reflective clothing. Bright colored clothing is not enough. Drivers need time to detect, identify, and react to an object they see on the road. The sooner they see you, the sooner they can respond. Reflective materials on the parts of your body that move, such as feet, legs, and arms, can be seen at greater distances by drivers in the dark. Carry your flashlight on the side closest to traffic.
Before the Halloween festivities begin, plan a way to get home safely at the end of the night. Alcohol affects judgment, balance, and reaction time. Create a “buddy system” to get each other home safely. Walking impaired can be just as dangerous as drunk driving.
Friends and family:
Plan on being a designated sober driver or walking buddy if a friend plans on drinking.
Make sure your friends and family don’t drive after drinking.
Don’t let friends or family walk alone after drinking.
Take action to prevent guests from walking alone or driving after drinking: serve plenty of food, non-alcoholic beverages, and less alcohol; collect car keys from guests who are drinking; designate sober drivers and walking buddies, and stop serving alcohol an hour before the party ends. Be prepared to call taxis, provide sleeping accommodations, or—if you’re sober—drive guests home yourself.
Remember that social host liability laws may hold you responsible for parties where underage people drink, regardless of who furnishes the alcohol. You could be held legally accountable for your guests’ behavior after they leave your party.
About the Author
Kevin Dusko is a Program Manager with the Montana State Highway Traffic Safety Section of the Montana Department of Transportation.
Kevin works to manage and support the DUI Task Forces around the state of Montana. He plays an instermental role in helping Drive Safe Missoula work toward the Vision Zero Initiative.
Our goal is to see a day when there are zero deaths and zero serious injuries on our roadways. To accomplish this goal, we need you.
Have a safe and Happy Halloween.
Thank you and Drive Safe, Missoula.