TAMPA, Fla. — Medical experts are urging parents to warn kids about dangerous drivers during trick or treating ahead of Halloween on Saturday.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Organization says following a few key guidelines will help keep trick-or-treaters out of harm's way.
- Walk on a sidewalk if one is available. If there is no sidewalk, walk facing traffic, as far to the side as safely possible so you can move quickly out of the road if you feel threatened by traffic. Drivers do not expect to see pedestrians in the roadway or to come out from between parked cars or behind shrubbery. Expect that drivers will not see you and wait for them to pass.
- Cross with a traffic signal if there is one and even if you have the right of way, make sure traffic has stopped or passed before you step into the street. This will be easier to do if electronic devices do not distract you from picking up visual and auditory information about traffic.
- Make yourself as visible to drivers as possible, especially at night and in low light by carrying a flashlight, wearing a small flashing strobe light, and wearing reflective clothing. Bright colored clothing is not enough. Drivers need time to detect, identify, and react to an object they see in the road. Also, carry a flashlight on the side closest to traffic.
Safety experts with Baycare Health say reflective materials on the parts of your body that move, such as feet, legs, and arms can be seen at greater distances by drivers in the dark.
Michelle Sterling, the Senior Wellness and Safety Specialist for St. Joseph's Children's Hospital and the Safe Kids Greater Tampa Coordinator, says there are a lot of ways you can easily achieve that.
"A nice reflective bracelet, some type of little blinking light that they can wear so that vehicle drivers can see them helps," Sterling said. "It does get darker earlier. Also, for your bags that you have to get candy, just use something that's reflective so that people can see you."
This comes one year after a 6-year-old boy, Dominic Keys, was hit while trick-or-treating in Trinity last year. He was in a marked crosswalk. Keyes survived and spent the last year recovering.
Neighbors have been rallying to get a crossing guard to monitor traffic at the intersection of Starkey Road and Town Avenue this year to protect trick-or-treaters.