The year 2020 has been a year of perfect storms. Events and circumstances that would be bad on their own seem to converge perfectly to maximize damage and risk. This upcoming weekend will be continuing the trend and putting pedestrians in even greater danger than usual.
Halloween occurs on a Saturday this year. Although trick-or-treating enthusiasm has been dulled by the pandemic, there will still no doubt be a fair number of trick-or-treaters in major California metro areas. Studies show that kids are more than twice as likely to be fatally struck by a car on Halloween than at any other time.
Because the holiday is on a Saturday, more adults may be throwing their own Halloween parties, at which alcohol will be served. This means more drunk drivers on the road on a night when pedestrian activity will be increased as well.
As if these two factors weren’t bad enough, the early morning hours between Saturday and Sunday are also the end of Daylight Saving Time this year. Many people don’t realize that the risk of pedestrian accidents increases significantly for at least a week following the time change. Daylight hours decrease and the everyone’s sleep schedule is thrown off. This means more pedestrians coming home in the dark and more drivers who are drowsy behind the wheel.
In short, this weekend will be a perfect storm of three dangers: increased pedestrian activity, increased likelihood of drunk driving and an increased risk of pedestrian accidents related to the end of DST.
If you have kids who will be celebrating Halloween by trick-or-treating, please do all you can to make sure they are visible to cars, that they are very careful about crossing the street and that they don’t stay out too late. And even if you don’t have kids, you can do your part to ensure safety by staying sober behind the wheel (as always) and driving much more cautiously over the next week. This year has already been bad enough – we all need to do our part to make sure everyone gets where they are going safe and sound.