With lots of ghouls and gobblins expected to be on the streets tonight for Halloween, here's a reminder to motorists to be extra vigilant when driving through neighborhoods as trick-or-treaters will be out in force.
October is the deadliest month for pedestrians in Minnesota, and at least one person on foot has died on Halloween night in each of the last three years, according to the Minnesota Department of Public Safety.
From 2007 to 2011, more pedestrians died in Minnesota in October than in any other month. So far 27 pedestrians have been killed on state roads this year, including two this month.Last year there were 22 pedestrian deaths during the first 10 months of the year, the department said.
In 2011, six pedestrians died in October compared with seven in October 2010 and five in 2009.
The next deadliest months for those on foot are December followed by November, the department said.
Officials say shorter nights mean morning and evening rush hours are darker and that makes it hard to see those on foot. It also requires that pedestrians ensure drivers can see them.
That will be a tad tricker tonight as many will be dressed in dark costumes. Be sure your headlights work and are on, don't use the cell phone while driving and pay attention for pedestrians when approaching crosswalks, advises Chloe Kivestu, a spokeswoman for Fed Ex who said the company has passed on those driving tips to the company's 90,000 drivers.
Police have tips, too. Trick-or-treaters should wear costumes with reflective tape or light costumes that can be easily seen by drivers. New Brighton police advise adults to accompany their children, carry a flashlight, go out while it's still light out, and cross the street only at corners or crosswalks and not to dart out between parked cars or in the middle of the block.
The Deaprtment of Public Safety advises motorists to drive slower on city streets, scan the road ahead and to their side for possible pedestrians,and look behind their vehicle before backing up.
It's not just those on foot who are at risk on Halloween. According to the National Traffic Safety Administration, drunk drivers are a threat on the roads, too. In 2010, the most recent year of available stats, 41 percent of all highway fatalities involved a driver or motorcyclist with a blood-alcohol content of 0.08 percent or greater.