Safety tips for drivers this Halloween night

(Graphic: BikePortland)

By the time you read this you will have likely seen many traffic safety PSAs. And for good reason. Halloween tends to be one of the deadliest nights of the year for traffic collisions — as much as 43% more deadly according to this story from Bloomberg.

But most of those well-intentioned messages are focused on the wrong thing: pedestrians. People walking are definitely worthy of concern, but they are not unsafe. The people who are unsafe are the ones driving multi-ton steel vehicles with terrible visibility, overpowered engines, and a tendency toward distracted, selfish behaviors.

So this message is for them…

Please consider not driving at all this afternoon or evening. The streets will be full of human traffic everyone will be safer if cars were simply not on the road.

If you must drive, please consider these tips:

  • Add lights, reflectors and/or high-visibility markings to your car so it’s easy for people to see you coming.
  • Drive very slowly. Limit your speed to 15 mph on residential streets and 20 mph on neighborhood collector streets.
  • Make sure you have bright and functional headlights and tail lights on your vehicle.
  • If you can’t see ahead and around your vehicle at all times, do not move forward. Either stop until you are sure it’s safe, or get out and walk around your vehicle to check for hazards.
  • If you have a choice in which type of vehicle to use, consider driving the smallest one possible. Many trucks and SUVs are designed with limited visibility and can cause terrible injuries and even death when involved in a collision.
  • If you drink alcohol, do not drive.
  • Make sure to follow all traffic laws (not just the convenient ones).
  • If your destination is on a crowded, narrow, residential street, consider parking in a location with more room and walking the rest of the way.
  • Do not wear any part of your costume while you drive that could impair your vision or ability to safely operate your vehicle.

Thanks for helping keep our streets safe for everyone. Have a fun Halloween!

Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor)

Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor)

Founder of BikePortland (in 2005). Father of three. North Portlander. Basketball lover. Car owner and driver. If you have questions or feedback about this site or my work, feel free to contact me at @jonathan_maus on Twitter, via email at, or phone/text at 503-706-8804. Also, if you read and appreciate this site, please become a supporter.

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1 year ago

Ha ha! Nice reversal of the usual “Make sure your kids can be seen by cars” messaging. Good work.