9 Tricks for Accident-Free Homes and Neighborhoods

October through the end of December is jam packed with holiday festivities. But to ensure you and your family enjoy the celebration, plan for seasonal risks — particularly those associated with vehicle safety. Halloween is the most dangerous holiday for pedestrians and Christmas and New Years are notorious for drunk driving. Shorter days mean more darkness and that can be particularly hazardous for children.

Because holidays inspire plenty of parties, it’s important to approach safety from a community standpoint. Most risks are not exclusive to your property but effect everyone living in or visiting the neighborhood. Here’s some safety tricks and tips to encourage accident-free holidays:

1. Turn on outdoor lighting fixtures

outdoorlight Fall is when the days start getting shorter. The more light your home provides, the less likely a visitor will trip and fall or end up in an accident. Lighting can also help deter arsonists and trespassers.

2. Designate a clear pathway

House It’s great fun to decorate your home for Halloween, Christmas and other seasonal holidays. But be sure there is a clearly marked, well lit pathway from the road to the entrance of your home. Keep the path well swept and free of debris.

3. Swap candles for battery-powered LEDs

According to the National Fire Protection Agency, over 11,000 structural fires are caused by open flame candles. Help minimize the risk by switching to battery operated LED lights instead of candles. Also, avoid overloading power strips with too many electronic lights.

4. Discuss safety with your neighbors

Neighbors Mischief night and Halloween are notorious for times for arson, vandalism, and drunk driving. Talk with your neighbors about unwanted activity and develop a plan of action. Encourage neighbors to follow steps 1 through 3.

5. Start a community-based designated driving program

Drink and drive

James Palinsad, Flickr Creative Commons

While talking with your neighbors, suggest a community-based designated driving program for the holidays. Historically, the rate of drunk driving accident soars during this season. Halloween and Thanksgiving have a notable increase and the two weeks encapsulating Christmas and New Years are the most dangerous time to be on or near a roadway.

6. Notify law enforcement/safety patrol

UCD_bike_patrol It’s always good to notify the police if your neighborhood expects lots of trick-or-treaters or holds a lot of festivities. Traffic cops, especially, can help catch drunk drivers before they enter your community. Notifying your neighborhood watch about vandalism or endangered children. The National Crime Prevention Council also recommend beefing up on neighborhood patrol during this season — especially around Halloween.

7. Enlist ‘witches helpers’

A “witch’s helper” is a young adult (high school or college age) who enjoys the Halloween tradition by taking responsibility for neighborhood safety. A witches helpers will dress in costumes and stand post with a traffic wand, engaging with groups of trick-or-treaters as they pass by. These helpers guard traffic crossings and keep a general eye out everyone’s wellbeing.

8. Distribute illuminated makers

traffic cone light Posting illuminated markers at the curb’s edge — particularly at the intersections — can help pedestrians stay safe during evening events, including Halloween. Flow-molded traffic cones powered with battery operated LEDs are a safe, inexpensive and fun safety marker.

9. Install florescent signs

signs Florescent signage –particularly signage with unusual graphics or saying — is still one of the most effective ways to catch a drivers’ attention and remind them that children are in the neighborhood. At night, you can illuminate these signs with battery-operated LED lights. *Top Image: Jeff Golden, Flickr Creative Commons