CHICAGO — With the fun and excitement of costumes, parties, and trick or treating it’s easy to forget about the increased potential for accidents and mischief that can result in property damage and the Property Casualty Insurers Association of America (PCI) has a series of simple steps that every homeowner and driver should do in order to make it a safe and claim-free Halloween.
1. Use caution when driving around as trick-or-treaters could dart out in front of your vehicle
“It is extremely important for drivers to be alert for trick or treaters,” said Chris Hackett, PCI senior director of personal lines policy. “The excitement of getting to the next house or joining a friend across the street for trick or treating can cause children to dart into traffic and according to Safe Kids Worldwide, on average, children are more than twice as likely to be hit by a car and killed on Halloween than on any other day of the year. This means staying off the phone while driving, planning your route ahead of time so you can stay focus on the road and recognizing that the opportunity for distraction is often multiplied on Halloween.”
2. Don’t drink and drive – Ever
Halloween is a particularly deadly night due to drunk drivers. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that in 2015, over half (52%) of all highway fatalities across the nation on Halloween night involved a driver or a motorcycle rider with a BAC of .08 or higher.
3. Protect your home and vehicles from being the target of vandalism
Unfortunately along with the candy, costumes and fun, a little mischief can also accompany Halloween. The Highway Loss Data Institute (HLDI) analysis shows every year there are a high number of vandalism claims that are filed on October 31st. National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) recent report shows, four out of the past five past Halloweens there’s been more thefts on that day than average.
“Remember to park your car in a safe, well-lit location or keep it inside a garage and make sure it’s locked and alarmed if you have one,” said Hackett.
4. Homeowners can also take steps to minimize accidents as well.
“Keep the path to your front door well-lit and free of obstacles that could cause falls, said Hackett. “Also, pets can become overly excited by costumes and all of the activity, so make sure they do not rush the front door each time the doorbell rings with trick-or-treaters.”
Keep in mind that annual family tradition of carving pumpkins and using candles for lighting can be a major fire hazard. The National Fire Protection Association reports that Halloween decorations cause over 1,000 home fires each year. “It’s a good idea to use battery operated candles instead,” said Hackett, “but if you do use real candles, don’t forget to blow them out when the night is over.”
Additional PCI Tips how to have a claims-free Halloween:
Park cars in well-lit areas or inside a garage
Lock cars, close windows and turn on car alarms
Watch out for kids crossing streets or walking between cars
Drive slower in busy neighborhoods full of trick-or-treaters
Stay off your phone (both when walking or driving)
Dress kids in flame retardant costumes only
Keep walkways and paths well-lit and clear to avoid falling trick-or-treaters
Keep dogs on a leash, Don’t let aggressive dogs rush trick-or-treaters at the door
Make sure children wear comfortable shoes and can see out of their costume
Don’t put candles where kids or pets can knock them over
Don’t let children play with candles, matches or lighters
Don’t put candles in bedrooms or sleeping locations
Don’t leave candles unattended or on over night
Use battery-operated candles