Monday is Halloween and the folks at AAA Minneapolis have a treat for you if you stop into one of their Hennepin County offices. And being the safety-conscious organization that it is, AAA also has a message to keep drivers and pedestrians safe on one of the most dangerous nights of the year.
AAA is passing out safety kits replete with bright bags that kids can use for trick-or-treating and glow-in-the-dark wrist bands to make little ghouls and goblins more visible to drivers.
The hope is to prevent heartbreaking tragedies like last year when 5-year-old Victor Uriel Laureano-Uriza dashed mid-block across Victory Memorial Parkway in the darkness and was struck and killed by a motorist, said Madisun VanGundy, AAA’s community outreach coordinator.
The chances of automobile-related crashes involving young pedestrians increases fourfold on Halloween night, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Neighborhood streets are a beehive of activity, and with all that extra foot traffic and vehicles tagging along, there’s plenty of potential for trouble.
To keep the roads from becoming a Halloween horror fest, VanGundy offers a few tips for drivers and pedestrians alike, things we should be doing all the time but more so on nights like Halloween.
For drivers, go slow. Traveling below the speed limit allows more time to brake should a walking zombie suddenly appear in the road. Second, be wary of passing cars that have stopped on the roadside as costumed children may be getting out. Third, put down the phone and scan, scan, scan. Trick-or-treaters often walk along curbs, dart out from behind parked cars and cross the street in unexpected places.
Of course, we all know not to drink and drive, but lots of folks tip a few back on the spooky night. Last year, more than half of all highway fatalities on Halloween night in the U.S. involved a driver or a motorcycle rider with a blood alcohol content of .08 percent or higher, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. If you have too much, call a taxi, Lyft or Uber for a ride.
Treat seekers have responsibilities too. First, follow the rule we learned in kindergarten: Look both ways. Second, cross streets only at intersections or in marked crosswalks, and never emerge from behind a parked car. Third, carry a flashlight and affix reflective tape to costumes to be visible to motorists.
“Halloween is a very fun holiday, but very dangerous,” VanGundy said. “We want drivers to stay focused, sober and slow down to keep our kids safe. We want parents to help keep their kids visible and attentive when they are out trick-or-treating.”
Brush up on snow emergencies
It’s mild outside now, but now is the time to brush up on the often confusing snow emergency rules and where to park your chariot when the white stuff flies. To help residents avoid tickets and that painful trip to the impound lot, the city of Minneapolis last week started mailing brochures to every household in the city. The pamphlet includes text and graphics that explain the procedures for each of three days when snow emergencies are in effect.
Minneapolis notifies residents about snow emergencies on its website and Facebook page, on Twitter, through phone and e-mail messages, and on the snow emergency hot line, 612-348-SNOW.
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