Between parties, trick-or-treating, and other festivities, Halloween is one of the busiest nights on the road for pedestrians and motorists alike. Unfortunately, Halloween is also a busy night for drunk drivers.
In fact, Halloween is one of the most deadly nights on the road, with drunk driving accidents and fatalities surpassing even those of New Year’s Eve.
How bad is it?
Forty-four percent of car accidents on Halloween and the weekend prior involve drunk drivers, and 23% of pedestrian fatalities on Halloween night involve a drunk driver.
All of this means that if you’re planning on heading out to enjoy some Halloween festivities, it’s important to know what to watch for. Below we provide a guide for how New Yorkers can stay safe and still have some spooky fun.
New York Pedestrians
If you’ll be trick-or-treating with your little ones or walking to a party or bar this Halloween, it is important to be aware of your surroundings at all times.
Always stick to sidewalks and crosswalks. Jaywalking is dangerous on any occasion in New York, but when impaired drivers are likely to be on the road, it’s particularly treacherous.
Only cross the street at well-marked crosswalks, preferably at a stoplight. At crosswalks, always watch for right-turners, who may not see pedestrians – particularly if they are impaired.
You can also reduce your risk of an accident by traveling in a group of people, adding reflective material to your costume, or carrying a flashlight so that you’re more visible.
Bicyclists on Halloween in NY
Drunk drivers put cyclists in a particularly dangerous situation, as bicycles must share the road with cars on many New York streets. If possible, you should avoid riding in the road, either by opting for routs with designated bike paths, or by taking the MTA and leaving your bike at home for the night.
You can also decrease your risk of a bike accident by adding a flashing light to your bike and wearing reflective clothing.
Other New York Motorists
If you’ll be driving on Halloween, take extra precautions to protect yourself against drunk drivers on the road. If possible, maintain a generous following distance from cars in front of you, which will allow you to recognize signs of drunk driving, such as swerving.
Drunk driving accidents are common in intersections, as impaired drivers often fail to obey stop signs or traffic signals. Take your time as you drive through intersections, looking both ways and yielding to oncoming traffic.
If possible, it may also be best to wrap up your Halloween festivities a little early. Drunk drivers are more likely to be on the road late at night, particularly as clubs and bars begin to close.
Halloween Partygoers in New York
If you’ll be enjoying adult beverages yourself this Halloween, have a plan ahead of time for how you’ll get home. If you’ll be going out with a group of friends, you may wish to designate a sober driver. Alternatively, you can also use ridesharing apps or public transit to get around, avoiding the issue of driving altogether.
Whatever you do, it’s important to have a plan in place ahead of time. Many drunk drivers make the decision to drive after they’re intoxicated and therefore lack the proper judgement to stay off the road. Waiting until last call to figure out your way home puts you at risk of “buzzed” (read: drunk) driving.
To keep Halloween from turning into a real-life horror show, it’s important to be aware of the dangers of drunk driving, and to take proper precautions to stay safe.