How to be Safe This Halloween

The spookiest time of year is almost upon us - Halloween. The costumes and candy can bring out the kid in all of us, but it’s important to be safer than ever with the influx of kids walking in our neighbourhoods. Whether you’ll be accompanying your kids this Halloween or driving during trick-or-treat hours, you need to be aware of safe pedestrian practices. The three most common factors in any pedestrian accident are visibility, distractions, and vehicle speed.

Colorful candy

Visibility

Pedestrian injuries are much more likely to occur when visibility conditions are poor. With the sun setting earlier in the day now, pedestrians will be walking in the dark more often. While streetlights and car headlights help to illuminate those on the sidewalks, it’s part of the pedestrian’s responsibility to make sure they’re seen by drivers.

Reflective clothing is a fantastic way to increase visibility and is recommended for all trick-or-treaters going out in the later hours. According to the report Countermeasures to Improve Pedestrian Safety in Canada written by the Canadian Council of Motor Transport Administration (CCMTA), “{retroreflective} materials enhance recognition, in particular when arranged in a ‘biomotion’ configuration, taking advantage of the motion from the natural movement of a pedestrian’s legs, feet, arms and wrists.”

Reflective wristbands are a fantastic safety option for making sure you and your child are seen, without compromising your costumes.

Distractions

Hand-held electronic devices have become a major source of distraction for drivers and pedestrians. Texting and driving is illegal for it’s potentially deadly consequences, but pedestrians also need to put the cell phones away when crossing the street.

If you’re out walking with your child this Halloween, limit your personal phone time. You need to be ready to act safely on behalf of your child, especially since they’re more likely to be distracted by Halloween activities. As reported in the Nova Scotia Pedestrian Safety Brochure “Be alert for children using crosswalks. They often dart out into traffic”.

Vehicle Speed

Vehicle speed has a direct correlation to the risk of pedestrian injury - the higher your speed, the more likely you won’t be able to avoid a potential collision. With more children out and about on Halloween, drivers need to slow down in residential areas. The CCMTA’s Countermeasures to Improve Pedestrian Safety in Canada states: “At a speed of 30 km/h, vehicles and pedestrians are able to co-exist with relative safety because drivers have sufficient time to stop for pedestrians, and pedestrians can make better crossing decisions.”

Let’s create a safe environment for our children this Halloween. If you’re out walking with your child, help them cross the street safely, and consider using reflective gear. For drivers, slow your speed during trick-or-treating hours and be on the lookout for kids running by roadways. For more information on pedestrian safety this Halloween, consider our links at the bottom of this article.

And, in case you were wondering how you or your child can dress up as a lawyer this Halloween, follow the link here for some legal costume ideas. A barrister wig may not be used by Canadian lawyers, but is still one of the most recognizable symbols of the legal world.

More links Halloween safety information:

Countermeasures to Improve Pedestrian Safety in Canada: http://ccmta.ca/images/publications/pdf//CCMTA_Pedestrian_Report_Eng_FINAL.pdf

Nova Scotia’s Pedestrian Safety Brochure: https://novascotia.ca/tran/publications/PedestrianSafetybrochure.pdf

Tips for parents and caregivers: http://www.parachutecanada.org/injury-topics/item/halloween-safety-tips

Halloween safety tips for children: http://www.parachutecanada.org/downloads/resources/WTW_HalloweenSafetyTipSheetFINAL_24OC14.pdf