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Safety tips for Halloween

Just in time for the upcoming Halloween celebrations, the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles issued safety tips for both trick-or-treaters and drivers.

Nobody wants to be responsible for mowing down a group of costumed kids out ringing doorbells for candy. But Halloween is not just a children's celebration, and there will be plenty of adults attending parties and consuming alcohol, too. The important thing is to not get behind the wheel after drinking.

Last year, the state of Virginia recorded 356 Halloween collisions. Of that total, 202 people were injured, and another three died. Two out of three of the fatalities involved alcohol.

The following tips may keep you and your kids out of harm's way this year.

-- Don't pass cars on streets where tick-or-treating is taking place.

-- Be particularly careful when pulling into and out of driveways.

-- Drive well below posted speed limits in residential areas.

-- Be aware of kids who might dart from between two vehicles.

Parents should teach their kids some basic Halloween safety rules, including:

-- Walking, not running, up to houses and down sidewalks.

-- Never assuming they have the right of way at intersections.

-- Remaining on sidewalks instead of streets whenever possible.

-- In locations where there are no sidewalks, teach kids to walk facing traffic.

-- Send them out with reflective tape adorning their costumes and/or candy sacks. Glow sticks and flashlights can also increase their visibility to drivers.

-- Help them plot their route for trick-or-treating so they avoid busy roads with multiple lanes.

-- Make-up and non-toxic paints are better choices than vision-obscuring masks.

-- Costumes that are too long can increase the risk of trips or falls. Keep garments knee length or no more than a couple inches below.

If your child gets injured by an intoxicated driver this Halloween, remember that you are his or her closest legal advocate, and can fight for the compensation his or her deserve.

Source: The Virginian-Pilot, "Halloween night can fun, but also treacherous. Here's some safety advice," Elizabeth Simpson, Oct. 27, 2016

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