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Valley trick-or-treaters, road closures to impact traffic on Halloween weekend

PHOENIX — Trick-or-treating can be scary in a bad way on Friday night. All of the kids out looking for candy at the same time drivers are hitting the road after work could lead to unfortunate incidents.

The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety says that Halloween is the deadliest night of the year for pedestrians.

Stephanie Dembowski of AAA is encouraging drivers to travel slowly, stay off of their cellphones and pay attention to what they’re doing.

“There’s lots of excited kids out there who are really not paying attention,” said Dembowski. “They are running from house to house and taking shortcuts.”

Dembowski is encouraging drivers to back off of the gas pedal a little bit. A pedestrian is twice as likely to die if they’re hit by a car that is traveling at 30 mph compared to one going 25.

She also had some advice for parents: They should tag along with their trick-or-treaters. They should also help their kids be more visible to drivers.

“Have each child either carry or wear something that lights up,” she said. “Maybe it’s a flashlight or glow stick, or even reflective tape that you can put on parts of their costume.”

AAA also suggests that parents make sure their kids aren’t wearing costumes that drag and become a tripping hazard. Any swords or other props should be carried in a way that won’t cause a potential injury or other problem.

For drivers, the Arizona Department of Transportation recommends trying to get an earlier start to heading out to your destination so that you avoid the scariest traffic conditions on Halloween, particularly between the “witching hour” of 4-6 p.m. ADOT said remember to be patient and recognize that your commute may take longer on a holiday, and also don’t let your guard down when you’re nearing home and entering a neighborhood potentially full of young candy seekers.

There are also closures and restrictions going on in the Valley during the weekend that you’ll want to account for before you hit the freeways. They are as follows:

• Eastbound Loop 202 (Red Mountain Freeway) will be closed between Country Club Drive and McDowell Road in Mesa from 10 p.m. Friday to 5 a.m. Monday for a freeway-widening project. ADOT said you may want to consider using eastbound US 60 (Superstition Freeway) as an alternate route.

• Westbound US 60 (Superstition Freeway) will narrow to three lanes between Stapley Drive and Alma School Road in Mesa from 4 a.m. to noon Saturday for overhead sign work. ADOT said be prepared to merge safely as you approach the work zone.

• Northbound Loop 101 (Price Freeway) will be narrowed to one lane between Baseline Road and Southern Avenue in Tempe from 4 a.m. to noon Sunday for overhead sign work. ADOT said to allow extra travel time and be prepared to slow down and merge safely approaching the work zone.

• The northbound State Route 85 ramp to westbound Interstate 10 in the Buckeye area will be closed from 6 a.m. Saturday to 1 a.m. Sunday for bridge work. ADOT said you should consider using westbound Southern Avenue and northbound Palo Verde Road as a detour route while the ramp is closed.

The KTAR Newsroom contributed to this report.

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