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Safety Tips for Halloween and Driving When It's Dark

crosswalk at night street, blurred traffic lights, defocused city background

Our Chicago Attorneys Explain What You Should Know

Trick-or-treating on Halloween can be a fun family event, but not if someone gets hurt because a negligent driver is inattentive. As the days get shorter and pedestrians become harder to see, drivers need to stay alert and be on the lookout for our most vulnerable road users.

Not surprisingly, pedestrian accidents involving children often occur this time of year at night, according to the National Safety Council.

That’s why drivers need to take steps to avoid causing a collision with a pedestrian on Halloween and other nights during the fall. Below, you can read about some suggested autumn safety tips for motorists, courtesy of Chicago attorneys who regularly represent people injured in collisions caused by reckless or negligent drivers.

'The Most Dangerous Time to Drive'

There are many reasons why crashes involving pedestrians occur when the days begin to get shorter. According to the National Safety Council, one of the biggest reasons why is because there is less daylight during busier daytime hours, especially after Daylight Saving Time ends, which is Nov. 7 this year. That’s when everyone turns their clocks back and we lose an hour of daylight later in the day. Instead of the sun setting at 5:30 p.m., it suddenly gets darker at 4:30 p.m. – right when people are getting out of work or walking home from after-school activities.

Not surprisingly, from October through March, the peak for fatal crashes is from 4 p.m. to 7:59 p.m., according to the National Safety Council. And during October in particular, Thursdays at this time, from 4 to 7:59 p.m., is when the most fatal crashes occur.

But it’s not just weeknights in the fall when pedestrians are most at risk. Weekends, especially Saturday nights, are the most dangerous time to be on the road almost any time of the year, according to the National Safety Council.

Collisions often occur this time of year due to poor visibility, driver fatigue due to shorter days, reduced vision due to less daylight during rush hour, and drivers being under the influence of alcohol, according to the National Safety Council. Speeding is also often a contributing factor since drivers have less time to react and slow down when they see someone walking alongside a road or crossing a street.

Tips for Pedestrians When Walking at Night

There are many steps people can take to make themselves more visible when walking alongside a road or crossing a street at night. In Illinois, drivers are required to stop for all pedestrians in crosswalks. In fact, pedestrians are the most vulnerable users of our roadways and drivers should take every possible precaution to protect pedestrians. Even though it's the responsibility of every driver to avoid collisions with pedestrians, these tips can help a pedestrian from getting hit by a negligent driver on Halloween or any other autumn night:

  • Consider wearing bright or reflective clothing or even a blinky light.
  • When trick-or-treating, make sure an adult accompanies children.
  • Carry a flashlight when walking at night.
  • Cross the street in a well-lit area, preferably in a crosswalk.
  • Avoid running across a street.

Tips for Motorists When Driving at Night

There are many steps motorists can and should take to practice safe driving habits when it's dark out, such as:

  • Remember that pedestrians have the absolute right of way when in crosswalks.
  • Make sure your headlights are clean.
  • Clean your windshield inside and outside.
  • Make sure your headlights are aimed correctly, and if not, learn more about how to properly adjust your headlights.
  • Look away from oncoming headlights when driving at night.
  • Slow down and stay attentive in neighborhoods, especially on Halloween when children are out trick-or-treating.

Talk to a Lawyer if You’ve Been Injured

You might think you don’t need an attorney if you or your child got hit by a car driven by a negligent driver, but these types of claims can quickly turn into complicated legal cases. Sometimes, it’s because the at-fault driver denies responsibility. Other times, an insurance company will purposefully delay, dispute, or deny a valid injury claim. Either way, if you were injured due to another person's negligence, you have the right to seek compensation for your losses, including both your short- and long-term damages (accident-related expenses).

This is why it’s important to have a lawyer on your side, protecting your rights and aggressively advocating for your best interests. At Keating Law Offices in Chicago, our attorneys can help you every step of the way. We know how the legal system works in Illinois, and we know how to fight for the compensation you're entitled to.

Discover what an experienced Chicago pedestrian accident lawyer can do for you and contact us today to schedule a free consultation. We can answer any questions you might have and explain all the legal options available to you.

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