GLEN BURNIE, MD (October 27, 2022) – Many people love a good scare on Halloween, but not when it comes to traffic safety. The Maryland Department of Transportation Motor Vehicle Administration’s (MDOT MVA) Highway Safety Office and the MDOT State Highway Administration (MDOT SHA) are partnering to remind motorists, pedestrians and bicyclists to look out for one another and travel safely this Halloween season.
With fewer daylight hours this time of year – and with scores of children expected to trick-or-treat in local neighborhoods – everyone on the road must work together to keep Halloween safe. Children are more than twice as likely to be struck and killed by a vehicle on Halloween than any other day of the year, according to Safe Kids Worldwide. In Maryland, pedestrians account for one in four traffic deaths annually, with 68% of those incidents occurring between 7 p.m. and 7 a.m.
“We want to emphasize that motorists must be extra vigilant on Halloween and obey all rules of the road,” said MDOT SHA Administrator Tim Smith. “It only takes a split second of inattention to create a dangerous situation for pedestrians.”
On Halloween, and every day of the year, Marylanders are reminded to make a plan for a sober ride home if they are celebrating. During the past five years in Maryland, more than 15,800 people were killed or injured in a crash where drugs and/or alcohol were involved. Nationwide in 2020, adults between the ages of 21 and 34 had the highest percentage (68%) of fatalities in drunk-driving crashes on Halloween night, according to the National Traffic Highway Safety Association.
“Increased pedestrian traffic and impaired driving is a scary mix, which is why it’s important that every person makes the right choice if they get behind the wheel this weekend,” said Chrissy Nizer, MDOT MVA Administrator and Governor Larry Hogan’s Highway Safety Representative. “We need all motorists to make the choice for a sober ride home – whether that means having a designated sober driver, scheduling a rideshare or taking public transportation. Making a plan in advance will save lives.”
MDOT SHA and MDOT MVA’s Highway Safety Office offer the following tips to help keep everyone safe.
- Be the SOBER driver. Make a plan for a sober ride.
- Buckle up. Make sure everyone in the vehicle is using a seat belt before you hit the road.
- Obey the speed limit. Speeding makes it more difficult to stop unexpectedly.
- Stay alert. Park the phone and avoid distractions.
- Stop for pedestrians. Maryland law requires motorists to stop for pedestrians in crosswalks and intersections.
- Follow all traffic signals and use caution when turning at intersections.
- Allow 3 feet of space when passing bicyclists.
- Stop at stop signs and before crosswalks.
- Enter and exit driveways slowly. Look for pedestrians behind your vehicle.
- Look left, right and left again before crossing a street.
- Use sidewalks and marked crosswalks whenever they are available.
- Walk, don’t run when crossing the street.
- See and be seen. With fewer daylight hours, pedestrians should remember to wear bright or reflective clothing when walking after dusk or before dawn.
- Stay alert. Watch for cars turning in or leaving driveways.
- Wear a helmet.
- Stop at red lights and stop signs.
- Stay visible. Use lights and reflective devices when riding at night and during inclement weather.
- Ride defensively. Expect the unexpected.
- Ride with traffic, never against it.
- Use hand signals when turning or stopping.
- Yield the right of way to pedestrians.
- Use marked bike lanes or paths when they are available. Only ride on sidewalks where allowed by local ordinance.
By following the rules of the road and engaging in safe behaviors, we can all help keep drivers, passengers, pedestrians and bicyclists safe on Halloween and every day. Learn more about the MDOT MVA’s Highway Safety Office at ZeroDeathsMD.gov or on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram at @ZeroDeathsMD.
For additional safety tips from MDOT SHA, visit roads.maryland.gov or on Facebook at MDOTSHA, Twitter at @MDSHA and Instagram at @MarylandStateHighwayAdmin.