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any van driverCelebrating Halloween can be a creepy, magical experience, and while late October has its own driving dangers, when you add Halloween revellers into the mix, young and old, with their glowing pumpkins and crazy costumes, you have a spectacle which could be a dangerous distraction for any van driver.

If you are planning to be on the roads at Halloween, take a look at our top tips for Halloween van driving so that you and everyone around you, yes even the zombies, can be safe on the roads. It's essential reading for any van driver who might find themselves on the road this Halloween.

Remember, Halloween doesn't just occur on 31 October – there will be all sorts of parties going on around this time, especially the weekend beforehand – and this is the time you might find that some of the adult zombies on the road have had a drink or two! So beware.

Residential areas will be busier than usual

If at all possible, it's best to avoid residential areas on Halloween evening as the streets will be alive with groups of excited children, and perhaps even some tipsy adult revellers. Generally, the hours between 5pm and 8pm are when the younger children will be out, but after that, older ghosts and ghouls might have had a drink or two. If you must travel through a residential area around the time of Halloween, be aware of extra hazards.

Pro tip: Be prepared to stop at any moment.

Think twice about the speed limit

When driving through a residential area, especially if there are parked cars obscuring the pavements, simply sticking to the speed limit may not be enough. Safe, slow speeds are essential in residential areas during Halloween. Excitable trick or treaters could appear out of nowhere at every curb, crossing and junction and, to make matters worse, many of these children will be wearing dark costumes; they will also be excitable, unpredictable and, possibly, supercharged on sugar.

Pro tip: Slow is best around pavements and parked cars and vans.

Beware parked cars and vans

Okay, you don't want to look like you're slowly cruising the neighbourhood, possibly looking for trouble, but if you do find yourself in a residential area you are going to have to drive slowly and keep a constant lookout. Too many pedestrian deaths happen as a result of children suddenly coming out from behind parked cars, so if you drive slowly you increase your ability to react to the sudden appearance of a child, witch, wizard, zombie or alien.

Pro tip: Mini monsters can appear from almost anywhere on Halloween.

Don't hurry on Halloween

Whoever you are and wherever you have to be, there can be no justifiable reason for being in a hurry on Halloween night. Sometimes we just have to let go and accept that we are not going to get to our destination as fast as we would like. Vigilance is essential at all times when kids might be out trick or treating and there could well be delays for parties of children and adults who all want to cross the road at once.

Pro tip: Be patient when driving around trick or treaters.

Beware stopped cars

There is a high probability that any vans or stopped cars on the side of the road are dropping off children. Passing these vehicles can be very dangerous and you should always assume that a child might exit at any moment, even from a commercial vehicle – if you really can't wait, you should proceed with caution.

Pro tip: Be patient if a car stops in front of you.

Keep communicating

During Halloween, good visual communication with other road users becomes more important than ever. So, as well as spotting the pedestrians around you, you should do your best to make sure they see you. The same goes for communicating with any other drivers: always use your indicators when turning into a junction and when pulling out or pulling in. And be sure to turn your hazard warning lights on if you are dropping your children off if this is obstructing other vehicles (although remember that putting your hazard lights on does not allow you to park illegally).

Pro tip: Make sure you can be seen when driving and make your driving intentions known.

Junction and crossing safety

Don't be tempted to rush out at junctions and crossings. Children often feel that it's safer to cross at junctions than at other points in the road, but, at Halloween, an excited child may just forget everything they've ever been told about road safety. So, be prepared for children, even quite old ones, to run out ahead of their parents. Always stop, always check for pedestrians and don't move until you are sure that it is safe and clear.

Pro tip: Wait a moment longer than usual at junctions to make sure no children are about to cross unexpectedly.

Beware the drop-off points

Driveways, local venues and other drop-off points can be busy on Halloween night. Proceed with extra caution and if you can't see clearly because there is a blind spot, or a stopped vehicle, you should take extra steps to check it is safe before you drive on.

Pro tip: If the road is busy or blocked, double check before moving off.

Mobile phone safety

DO NOT use a mobile phone or other similar device while driving. You should already know about the risks of using a handheld device at any time while driving, but at Halloween all avoidable risks and distractions should be eliminated. So, switch it off and eliminate the risk. The same advice goes for food and drinks, as well as any Halloween snacks. Wait until your driving journey is over!

Pro tip: Remove all distraction risks.

Headlights

The days are getting shorter and shorter right now, so your headlights are required earlier as each day progresses. However, consider turning your headlights on even earlier than usual at Halloween as this will increase your visibility to pedestrians. You may feel like it's not dark enough, but it could make a great difference to whether a child or a party goer darts out in front of you.

Pro tip: Headlights on well before darkness descends.

Watch out for drunk walkers

Drunk pedestrians run the same risks of bad decision making and failure to properly gauge reaction times and speeds etc as drunk drivers. Unfortunately, Halloween, and this includes the weekend before the actual celebration itself, is a time when many adults will be out partying and this, for many, will include the consumption of alcohol. So, watch out for weaving witches, stumbling vampires, and zoned-out zombies. You may not be responsible for their actions but as it is Halloween you should be prepared to expect the unexpected.

Pro tip: Halloween for adults means drunk party-goers on the streets.

Halloween driving safety – be prepared

Basically, Halloween is a time when just about anything can happen on the roads. So drivers need to be really observant. Also, it's not just kids who enjoy the festivities, so beware any zombies driving vans or cars, just in case they are genuinely terrifying and have had a sneaky drink!

Be safe and enjoy the fun! And lastly, don't forget your van insurance!