Halloween provides children with the excitement of dressing up and collecting candy as they participate in trick-or-treating, but it also raises additional concerns that drivers should be acutely aware of. Kids may not fully comprehend the risks associated with walking the streets at night and visiting homes and drivers have a pivotal role in ensuring a safe Halloween for young pedestrians. It is paramount for drivers to exercise heightened vigilance and caution, as children may be unpredictable and inattentive to road safety while navigating the streets.
Statistical studies underscore the gravity of the matter. According to a 4-decade study completed by the University of British Columbia, Halloween emerges as the deadliest night for pedestrians, with a concerning 48% higher risk of fatalities compared to other nights, particularly during the hours between 5 PM and 8 PM. Safe Kids Worldwide underscores on their website that children are more than twice as likely to be involved in car accidents on Halloween night compared to any other night of the year.
Having managed and litigated pedestrian cases over the past 16 years, I offer these guidelines for drivers and pedestrians:
- Be extra vigilant, especially during the peak trick-or-treating hours from 5 PM to 8 PM.
- Prioritize safety over haste; any delay is a small price to pay for safeguarding young lives on this festive occasion.
- Drivers should anticipate that children may not be mindful of traffic rules and may dart into the roadway unexpectedly. Parents should strongly consider putting on reflective tape on black or dark costumes.
- Avoid distractions and remain fully focused on the road.
- Ensure your headlights are on, even if it’s not completely dark yet, to increase visibility.
- Always avoid any form of impaired driving, such as alcohol or drug use.
- Be patient and expect frequent stops and starts as children move about the streets.
- Respect the rights of way at crosswalks and intersections.
Halloween is a time to explore fantasy and fun, but not when it comes to road safety. Remember, the real horror story is the one that starts with an accident. So, this Halloween, save the craziest antics for when you arrive safely home. With these tips in mind, I hope you can have a safe and enjoyable Halloween!
Travis Bissett has been representing injured pedestrians and motorists to insurance companies and Courts for the past 15 years in the Lethbridge area.
He is a partner with Stringam LLP and a board member of the Canadian Bar Association and Alberta Civil Trial Lawyers Association. In 2022 he was named as the volunteer of the year with Lethbridge Legal Guidance for his years of service since 2008. In 2021 he was given the external Lethbridge College External Partner Award.