It should come as no surprise: Halloween is by far the most dangerous day for pedestrians in the U.S.
According to a 40-year JAMA study, drivers are 43% more likely to accidentally kill a pedestrian with their cars on Halloween than on any other night.
Among children ages 4 to 8, the risk of getting killed as a pedestrian in an accident is 10 times higher on Halloween than it is during the rest of the year.
The most dangerous time of day on Halloween for fatal accidents is around 6pm.
The cost of hitting a Trick-or-Treater can be devastating in financial terms, as well.
Generally speaking, the average injury settlement for a pedestrian hit by a car can range from $15,000 to $75,000 for minor injuries, like whiplash or a broken bone. The settlement payout can increase to $500,000 or upwards of $1 million for more serious injuries, like spinal cord damage or a traumatic brain injury.
If you don’t have liability coverage in that range, not only are you doing a disservice to a young family who may have to pay a lifetime of medical bills and lost earning capacity because you injured a child. You’re doing a disservice to yourself, too. Because if the likely cost of the injury dwarfs your liability limits on your policy, they will sue you for the difference.
If they get a judgment, they can go to your bank and seize your money. They can garnish your future wages. For years.
You may not have any money now. But you have a future income to protect!
If the vehicle owner is a business, or is otherwise perceived to have “deep pockets,” then a wrongful death judgment or settlement on behalf of a deceased child may go up to tens of millions of dollars.
I don’t want any child or child’s family to suffer from injury or death to a Trick-0r-Treater in a car accident. I don’t want any victim to have to go without the best available care and support because the driver didn’t maintain enough insurance coverage (and the state minimum coverage isn’t nearly enough in any case!)
And I don’t want you to suffer years of financial consequences because of a mistake or accident that can happen in the blink of an eye.
So take prudent action well in advance:
Maintain the best insurance protection you can afford, with an ample amount of liability insurance.
In some cases, if you have a home, business, a high income, or other assets to protect, supplement that liability insurance with an umbrella insurance policy. To handle those rare but devastating mega-claim incidents.
It’s the liability piece that protects the children and their families. And it protects you just as much!
Don’t skimp on it, and don’t settle for the state minimum. That does almost nothing to protect the children in your neighborhood against the serious injuries that a pedestrian accident frequently causes.
Now, the driver tips:
- Prevention is the best medicine. Stay off the road in residential neighborhoods on Halloween afternoons and evenings.
- Clean your headlights.
- Wash your windshield.
- Invest in new wipers.
- Reduce your speed.
- Put your phone away when your car is in motion.
- Avoid driving in poorly lit neighborhoods or areas on Halloween.
- EXPECT children to dart in front of your car.
- DON”T EXPECT Trick-or-Treaters to limit their crossing to crosswalks.
- Don’t assume they know you have the right-of-way. Or care.
- Assume that anyone in a mask can’t see clearly.
- Be extra careful when passing cars that are stopped on the street. They may be loading or unloading passengers
- If you see one child crossing the road, there are probably more about to cross.
- Try not to park where you need to back up during Trick-or-Treat hours. If you do need to back up, try to have a “spotter” outside your car, watching for children and other pedestrians.
- Don’t drive after drinking at a Halloween party. If you’re involved in an accident, cops will almost certainly have you blow into a breathalyzer. And you don’t have to blow over 0.8 in order to be arrested and charged with a life-changing DUI!
Halloween Safety Tips for Parents
- Use glow-in-the-dark or reflective safety tape. You can get it at Walmart, and lots of other places. Mark the back and edges of their costumes with it to create a neat and functional design that lets drivers see them. Also, Glow-in-the-dark necklaces, bracelets and even shoelaces, and child-safe glow-in-the-dark paint to decorate costumes with. Don’t just have them wear it, but you can also tag their baskets and bags with them. (Braid the shoe laces around the tops of baskets for a neat and highly visible safety grip. (Remember to make sure to set “glow-in-the-dark” items out under at least one full day in light if they aren’t the snap and use kind!).
- Have the children carry flashlights, glow sticks, blinking lights, and strobe wands.
- Stay in larger groups
- Have a responsible adult supervise children at all times.
- Teach children to cross only at street corners and on crosswalks.
- Trick-or-Treat only in places you are familiar with that are well lit
- Go to neighborhoods with sidewalks. Studies show that sidewalk neighborhoods are safer than areas with no sidewalks.
- Teach children not to enter anyone’s home.
- Watch out for any treats with allergens. Adults should carefully inspect the bags of children with nut allergies before they have a chance to eat the candy.
- Many places like malls and community centers offer trick-or-treating that are “safer” indoor areas to take the kids.
Make Sure You’ve Got the Right Car Insurance.
Here are a couple of auto-insurance-specific tips:
Many insurance carriers offer a discount if you and other members of your household complete a qualified drivers’ safety course. Take the course, pick up the discount, and use the money you save to buy more liability coverage!
Increase your deductible. This is the number one tip I have for anyone who wants to save money on their car insurance right away. Because it works with every carrier, for all kinds of drivers. And because in almost any line of insurance, whether it’s auto, homeowner’s, health insurance, business interruption, or anything else, low-deductible insurance is the most inefficient and expensive insurance there is.
So increase your deductible to the highest amount you can comfortably afford.
Take the savings and either buy more liability insurance, or drop the money you save into a savings or money market account. Or pay down high-interest credit card debt.
Either way, you’ll soon be in a position where you can meet your new, higher deductible without even blinking. Or handle any other emergency that comes up.
Which means you can increase your deductible again. And generate another round of savings. It’s a virtuous cycle.
To save money on your car insurance, or to compare coverage and see what you can save by increasing your deductible, call one of my amazing agents at(855) 438-7353.
Meanwhile, a final message for those of you who are just carrying the bare minimum coverage required by your state:
Get some real liability insurance in place. From a quality company that will actually pay the claim.
You know you need it anyway. Do the kids in your neighborhood a favor:
Get that extra liability protection in place by Halloween.
Do it for them and for you.
See you on the road!
Steve “Mr. Insurance” Ludwig
CEO, Select Insurance Group