The scariest thing out there on Halloween night isn’t the ghouls, goblins, and ghosts… it’s usually drivers. With kids out treat-or-treating, more people drinking, and generally more distractions for drivers, there’s an increased risk for accidents. Even if you consider yourself a responsible driver who follows the rules of the road, there might be some things you could be doing while driving that may pose a greater risk than you realize. Whatever you have planned, if you are going to be on the road, there are several things you can do to keep yourself and others safe this year.
1. Don’t drive distracted – Distracted driving is a leading cause of collisions in Alberta. Research shows that distracted drivers are three times more likely to be involved in collisions, and distracted driving plays a role in 20 to 30 percent of all collisions in Alberta. It’s easy to feel overly confident on the road, but the reality is that if you take your eyes off the road for two seconds, your risk of crashing doubles. Even if you haven’t caused a serious accident, the penalties for distracted driving should make you think twice.
• The minimum fine for distracted driving is $300 and three demerit points.
• Insurance rates can go up by as much as 25% after a distracted driving ticket.
It’s important to remember that distracted driving can include everything from using a cellphone to programming a GPS, applying makeup, and more.
2. Slow down – This should go without saying, especially in residential areas. Speeding poses a danger to yourself and others and increases the risk of serious injury or death if you cause an accident at higher speeds. As of May 31, 2021, Calgary’s residential speed limit was lowered to 40 kilometers per hour for many residential areas. If you’re going to be driving this Halloween, slow down, take your time and watch for trick-or-treaters crossing the road or running out from between parked cars.
3. Don’t drink and drive – Costumes + cocktails = caution. According to MADD, over five years, approximately 8,600 people are convicted of impaired driving in Alberta each year. On average, one in five Alberta drivers involved in fatal collisions had been drinking prior to the accident. If you plan on celebrating Halloween with a few drinks, don’t drive. Call an Uber. Call a sober friend. Stay over. Whether or not you win this year’s costume contest, you’re guaranteed to be hallowinning.
There you have it, three easy steps you can take to help make our roads safer this weekend (and every day)! We hope you have a happy and safe Halloween!!