As Nevadans near the end of October, they look forward to the commemoration of Nevada’s statehood: Nevada Day. It just so happens that the holiday shares the same date as a holiday celebrated throughout the county and much of the world: Halloween. While Halloween is a wonderful day to dress up, party with friends, and munch on lots of candy, the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration warns that it can be one of the deadliest days on the road. Driving Under the Influence can be attributed to a slew of accidents on this day in years past. Between 2015 and 2019, nearly 158 people died because of driving under the influence on Halloween, and 42 percent of accidents on Halloween involved at least one drunk driver . What makes Halloween even more dangerous than most holidays is the increased number of pedestrians on the road because of Trick-or-Treating.
Pedestrian Safety in Nevada
Being a pedestrian can be one of the scariest things to do on Halloween—and not because of ghosts and witches. A study published by JAMA Pediatrics found that a pedestrian was forty-three percent more likely to die on Halloween than any other day in the year. The primary reason for this is the fact most people go out when it gets dark outside— also a time where road visibility is dramatically decreased. In addition to young trick-or-treaters hitting Nevada neighborhoods, some irresponsible drunk adults venture out creating a recipe for disaster. The JAMA Pediatrics Study was based off the 608 pedestrian Halloween deaths between 1980 and 2016. Fifty-five of these pedestrian deaths were of children between the age of four and eight, and children in this age group are 10 times more likely to be struck by a vehicle than any other age group. 
Knowing that 18% of the people who die in fatal crashes on Halloween are children, is it still ok to let them go out during Halloween? JAMA Pediatrics emphasizes that banning Trick-or-Treating will not solve the problem. Rather they note underlying problems that need to be addressed, including the fact most drivers are careless when in residential areas. As a matter of fact, nearly fifty-five percent of of traffic collisions occur within a five-mile radius of one’s home, while only fifteen percent occur more than twenty miles from one’s home.  This is partly due to the fact that some residential areas have obscured driveways from which vehicles may enter the road, multiple types of speed bumps, vehicles parked on the curb, and other potential hazards not seen in most open road environments. These things can often throw drivers off, resulting in collisions with parked cars, other drivers or in the worst case scenario, pedestrians on the street. In addition, if a motorist is comfortable in an area, they may be more careless and more inclined to focus on other things like their phone.
The best way to keep children safe this Halloween is by taking simple safety precautions:
- Use the sidewalk whenever possible and If there is no sidewalk, move as far away from traffic as possible. Always walk facing traffic, avoid running into roads, and utilize crosswalks or pedestrian bridges whenever possible.
- Increase your visibility—This includes walking with a flashlight and adding reflective material to your children’s costumes. Many parents also utilize glow-sticks to better illuminate their children.
- Ensure young children have adult supervision when out trick-or-treating. Also inform them of basic traffic rules and courtesy, and encourage them to stop and look both ways when crossing the street. Being aware of one’s surrounding is key to preventing collisions.
- For Adults—If you are drinking and know that you must walk, ensure you have someone sober with you who can help you get to your destination safely.
Tips For Drivers during Halloween
As mentioned earlier, driving under the influence is the primary factor in Halloween accidents. However, the following are some other safety precautions to consider:
- Avoid distracted driving— Texting or speaking on the phone takes your eyes off the road, which is especially deadly when pedestrians like young children and those under the influence are unpredictable and often make irrational decisions.
- Stay Alert of Posted Signs—Pay attention to speed limits, crosswalks, etc, especially in residential areas. Slowing down allows you enough time to react to oncoming pedestrians or vehicles.
- Never Drive Under the Influence— If you are making plans for Halloween, include plans for a designated driver, or plan on using ride share apps like UBER and LYFT to get you to and from your destination. If you are with friends who attempt to get behind the wheel drunk, take their keys away from them and find them a safe ride home.
Photo Credit: Federal Highway Administration