Editorial: Driving safety critical on Halloween night
Oct 29, 2013 | 614 views | 0 0 comments | 42 42 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Safe driving habits should be foremost in the minds and actions of motorists year-round, but on Halloween night safety should be the ultimate priority for all who get behind the steering wheel of a moving vehicle.

Those traveling our Cleveland and Bradley County roadways late Thursday afternoon and night — whether they are residents or visitors to our community — are no exception; and all should take special heed to some key reminders.

Certainly the popularity of trick-or-treating has regained lost momentum over recent years because of organized alternatives by area churches and other community groups, as well as to the ever-growing Halloween Block Party in downtown Cleveland. But in some neighborhoods the traditional door-to-door visits by little ghosts, ghouls and goblins is still an annual favorite among excited children.

For this reason, safety behind the steering wheel is a must.

Just a few safety tips for Halloween night, mostly for motorists who might be going to or coming from the Block Party or perhaps are accompanying trick-or-treating youngsters in safe and familiar neighborhoods.

- Do not get behind the steering wheel if you have been drinking or if you are impaired in any way from any substance that slows your reflexes or hinders your judgment in safely operating a moving vehicle.

- Do not use a cellphone or other electronic device while driving. Although this should never be done anyway, special precautions against it on Halloween night should be taken.

- Motorists who, from the street, are accompanying children as they walk from door to door in safe neighborhoods should travel with their hazard lights flashing.

- Motorists should drive defensively at all times while watching both sides of the road for children who could be darting back and forth across residential streets.

- Motorists should pay special attention to crosswalks, intersections, sidewalks and road shoulders because of the presence of trick-or-treaters whose excitement is a natural distraction from watching for vehicles.

- Motorists should take absolutely nothing for granted; don’t assume children crossing the street see your vehicle.

- Motorists should drive at or below the posted speed limits on all streets, whether in residential sections, main city thoroughfares or even rural areas.

- Motorists should watch for other motorists on the road, at intersections or emerging from driveways or side streets.

- Motorists who are dropping off children for neighborhood trick-or-treating should pull into a safe spot, preferably a driveway or parking lot; motorists should avoid stopping in streets to let out children because of potential hazards of other vehicles pulling around whose drivers might not see the children crossing ahead.

- Motorists should exercise full caution and proper driving techniques. Do not run yellow or red lights, and always use turn signals to alert the vehicles traveling behind.

- Motorists should not drive carelessly or participate in horseplay with other motorists.

- Motorists should alert their child passengers not to accept rides with drivers in other vehicles during the course of their trick-or-treating.

- Motorists should be on the alert for suspicious activity at all times because Halloween night is often a prime opportunity for child predators.

- Motorists accompanying trick-or-treating youngsters should never lose sight of each child in their group.

Halloween can be entertaining in a lighthearted, family-friendly atmosphere.

But Halloween should be enjoyed with extreme caution.

Safety is the key for all — motorists and pedestrians alike.