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Drive Your Goblins, etc., Safely

You know Halloween is just around the corner, because you've been consuming your kids' bite-sized candy for weeks now, haven't you? This year, it also coincides with the clocks "falling back" an hour, which means darkness before 5 p.m. Young trick or treaters start (and finish) their house-hopping early, but older kids will be spooking door-to-door throughout the evening. The National Highway and Safety Administration (NHTSA) has these tips for driving safely among young revelers:

* Drive slowly, and don't pass stopped vehicles. The driver might be dropping off children.

* Stay off your mobile phone. Avoid distractions by waiting until you've stopped to call, text or surf.

* Watch for children darting into the street. Kids can cross the street anywhere, and most young pedestrian deaths happen at spots other than intersections.

* Yield to young pedestrians. Children might not stop, either because they don't see your vehicle approaching or don't know how to safely cross the street.

* Communicate with other drivers. Always use your turn signals. And if you have to pull over to drop off or pick up your kids, turn on your hazard lights.

And, to keep your own trick-or-treaters safe:

* Teach them how to safely cross streets. They should look both ways and cross only at corners and crosswalks.

* Consider indoor Halloween activities for younger kids. Some communities also offer to help you inspect your kids' treats to make sure they're safe to eat.

* Brighten them up. Give them flashlights and glow sticks, and/or use reflective tape on their costumes, so drivers can see them.

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