WASHINGTON - Halloween is the deadliest day of the year for children who get hit by cars.
More than 20 years of data analyzed by State FarmŽ and Bert Sperling of Sperling's BestPlaces reveal the number of children killed by cars on Oct. 31 is more than double the average on other days of the year.
A majority of those deadly crashes -- more than 60 percent -- happen between 5 p.m. and 9 p.m. Also, 32 percent fatalities occurred with children ages 12-15 while 23 percent occurred with children ages 5-8.
Both children out trick-or-treating and drivers need to pay extra attention to prevent crashes. It also helps to see and be seen on Halloween.
The Maryland State Highway Administration (SHA) is loaning out free reflective vests "to provide the highest amount of reflectivity and to help illuminate our little ghosts and goblins and wizards and whoever else is walking around the streets on Halloween," says SHA Public Information Officer Charlie Gischlar.
Loaner vests can be picked up at most SHA maintenance facilities around the state Tuesday, Oct. 29, Wednesday, Oct. 30 and Thursday, Oct. 31 from 8 a.m. until 4 p.m. To view a list of locations, visit the SHA website.
General safety tips for drivers include slowing down and eliminating distractions such as cellphone conversations -- including those with hands-free devices, Gischlar says.
"Around Halloween we want your attention completely on the roadway. It doesn't take but a second to make a tragedy happen," Gischlar says.
Safety experts recommend trick-or-treating children be reminded of proper pedestrian habits that include looking left, right and then left again before crossing the street at a corner -- preferably where there's a crosswalk.
To be sure to be seen, SHA recommends trick-or-treaters wear bright colors, carry flashlights, wear blinking lights and or wear something reflective such as a vest.
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