AAA gives safety tips for drivers and parents on Halloween

AAA Northeast has some safety tips to give for those who plan to party or have their children trick-or-treat for Halloween. West Virginia residents can benefit from the tips as well. After all, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, most Halloween drunk driving deaths occur between 6 p.m. on Oct. 31 and 6 a.m. on Nov. 1.

In fact, from 2012 to 2016, 44 percent of all fatal traffic crashes that occurred during this "witching hour" involved at least one drunk driver. Halloween night of 2016 saw nearly half of its fatal drunk-driving crashes caused by drivers aged 21 to 34.

AAA advises all partygoers to plan ahead. Even one alcoholic beverage can impair driving. That's why it's important to designate a sober driver, utilize public transportation or contact a ride-hailing service. Friends should also prevent one another from driving drunk. Those who do drive on Halloween night should slow down because children may dart out mid-street or from behind parked cars.

Parents should plan a trick-or-treating route in advance, tell their children to always cross at corners and accompany them from house to house if they are younger than 12. For added safety, costumes should have some reflective material on them, and they should never impair the wearer's vision. When there are no sidewalks, children should walk facing traffic and carry a flashlight.

Should a drunk or reckless driver cause an accident, victims may be able to seek compensation for their injuries. This may involve filing an insurance claim against the other party. Since auto insurance companies are aggressive in denying payment to victims, it's essential to hire a lawyer for the negotiation phase. If a settlement cannot be achieved that covers the victim's medical expenses, lost wages and other legitimate losses, the lawyer can prepare the case for court. Victims could even seek punitive damages.

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