The deadliest day for children to be out on the roads is here.

AAA Northeast's Utica office is reminding parents to be sure their kids, especially those under 17, are aware of all road safety rules.

AAA is also issuing a warning to drivers to exercise increased caution when out on the roads, especially tonight.

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Those driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol can be unpredictable and veer off the street without warning. A sad example of this is the tragic death of a Camden woman who was fatally struck when walking her dog.

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Kathleen MacArthur, a beloved 68-year-old resident of Camden, died alongside her dog when 30-year-old James R. Henry veered off the road and fatally struck them both east of the Howd Road intersection on Hillsboro Road.

Police say Henry was driving while intoxicated by drugs.

AAA says alcohol impaired drivers make up a third of all motor vehicle deaths in the nation. In 2021, it was said a person was killed by a drunk driver every 39 minutes.

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AAA Northeast pulled data from 2007 to 2021 and found 49 children were killed on Halloween during that span of time.

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That number is double than the second-deadliest day of the year.

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Patti Artessa, AAA Northeast director of Public Affairs Outreach, said in a press release:

Whether you’re out trick-or-treating with children or getting together with friends, safety should be paramount on Halloween. Drivers must be especially vigilant between 4 p.m. and midnight, when pedestrians are the most vulnerable.

In order to save as many lives as possible, AAA is urging residents to review these tips so that every kid who goes out trick-or-treating on Tuesday comes home.

Safety Tips

  • Trick-or-treat together. AAA recommends that parents accompany youngsters at least until the age of 12.
  • Review trick-or-treating safety precautions and plan the route ahead of time. Remind children never to cross the street mid-block or between parked cars.
  • Check costumes. Choose disguises that don’t obstruct vision and where possible use face paint instead of masks. Check and adjust the length of costumes to avoid tripping and add reflective material or tape to keep kids visible. Carry a flashlight.
  • Buckle up. If driving trick-or-treaters between neighborhoods, always use seat belts or appropriate car seats, no matter how short the trip is. Have children exit and enter from the sidewalk rather than from the road when possible.

AAA also had this to share with drivers who will be out on the road on Halloween:

  • Avoid neighborhood shortcuts. If possible, avoid cutting through residential streets where trick-or-treaters are likely to be present.
  • Watch for children in the street or walking on medians and curbs. Excited trick-or-treaters, often in dark costumes, may not pay attention to traffic and may cross mid-block or between parked cars.
  • Slow down. According to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, a pedestrian is more than twice as likely to be killed if hit by a car traveling 35 mph compared to 25 mph. What seems like a small difference – just 10 mph – can be the difference between life and death.
  • Drive sober. Alcohol-impaired drivers make up about one-third of all motor vehicle deaths nationwide, with an average of one drunk driving fatality every 39 minutes in 2021, the last year of available federal data. That year, across the country, 38 people were killed in drunk driving crashes on Halloween night. Always designate a sober driver or find some alternate means of transportation.

It also should be noted that the roads are covered in wet leaves, which will increase one's distance to come to a complete stop. 

A vehicle driving at 40 miles per hour typically needs about 80 feet to come to a complete stop, but when wet leaves are on the street, the stopping distance doubles.

 

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Coming to a complete stop on wet, totally leaf covered roads can take as much as 250 feet. 

The current Halloween forecast calls for semi-hazardous weather that could make driving conditions even worse. It's predicted that the area could get snow showers on Halloween night, with temperatures expected to hit a low of 31 degrees.

Two pumpkins covered with snow for a cold Halloween night
Tony Savino/Think Stock
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Snow showers are also possible Monday night, with the current forecast by NOAA calling for 32-degree, wet weather.

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