Avoid being a reckless speed demon this Halloween

By: Eric Czarnik | Sterling Heights Sentry | Published October 19, 2015

 There are many factors to determine when choosing a Halloween costume for your children.

There are many factors to determine when choosing a Halloween costume for your children.

Shutterstock image


Police and health experts are warning metro Detroit’s drivers to not be afraid of being extra cautious while driving or trick-or-treating this Halloween.

Donna Bucciarelli, injury prevention education coordinator at Beaumont Children’s Hospital, said adult drivers should never be distracted by phones and texts, but it’s especially important to pay attention on Halloween due to the night’s foot traffic.

“Especially on Halloween, kids … have a mission,” she said. “They will dart out in front of cars, in between cars.”

Bucciarelli urged drivers to be proactive and think about errands ahead of time —if tasks can wait another day, they should do so and stay off the road. But if drivers must drive during Halloween, Bucciarelli said they must slow down and be very careful when backing up a vehicle. 

She encouraged parents accompanying trick-or-treaters to walk with their children instead of driving from house to house, which can multiply the chances of not seeing crossing pedestrians.

Bucciarelli said parents must reinforce the importance of safety to their kids and urge them to stick to one side of the street as much as possible while trick-or-treating. When crossing, they should use an intersection and look left, right and left again for passing cars, she said.

She added that one challenge of doing this today is the popularity of electric cars and hybrids that operate quietly.

Oakland County Sheriff Michael Bouchard also had some simple advice for drivers: Slow down significantly on the evening of Oct. 31.

“It’s obviously a night that’s filled with young people crossing the streets with reckless abandon,” he said. “You have a duty to give extra care and caution and to watch your speeds diligently.”

When it comes to children’s safety, Bouchard said the first thing that parents should consider is the Halloween costume. 

“When you as a parent or caregiver are going out and going to shop for a costume for a child, (find) one that either has or allows you to put some kind of reflective material on it,” he said.

A costume should also let the wearer walk without tripping, and it should also allow the person to see without obstruction. This is especially important because kids need to look both ways before crossing the street, he said. 

Young trick-or-treaters should also carry a flashlight that will illuminate the walker’s surroundings while making them more visible in the dark.

Bouchard explained that the FCC requires cellphones to let people use them for 911 calls even if they’re not subscribed with a phone company. So if a parent has an old, but working, cellphone lying around, that could be given to a child in case of an emergency, he said.

“When you go out, we would encourage you to have an ability to communicate, if that’s a cellphone or even if it’s just an emergency phone,” he said. 

Contact the Oakland County Sheriff’s Office by visiting www.oakgov.com or by calling (248) 858-5000. Learn more about Beaumont Health by visiting www.beaumont.org.