It’s that time of year again. Halloween! I loved Halloween as a kid, and still do! The idea of going door to door and getting free candy still astonishes me. It can bring a community/neighbourhood closer together.
Each year I put out a blog post regarding Halloween safety tips, and this year is no exception. The only caveat is that I’m getting out this installment of the Toronto Injury Lawyer Blog out a bit later than I would have liked; but emergencies have a tendency of popping up and ruining well intentioned plans.
One of the common threads of the Toronto Injury Lawyer Blog around this time, is that my law firm sees a spike in calls post Halloween related to pedestrian/car accidents (essentially trick or treating accidents).
I had no scientific data to back up my claims other than the internal call tallies we keep at my law firm regarding the nature and circumstances of the calls coming in year after year around this time.
But UBC issued a proper scientific road study finding a 43 per cent higher risk of pedestrian deaths on Halloween night than on other nights near that date. Kids aged 4 to 8 faced the highest risks in the new study: There were 55 Halloween deaths in this age range compared with just 11 on control days. Deaths peaked near dusk, around 6 p.m.
The study was based on four decades of U.S. traffic data, including 608 pedestrian deaths on 42 Halloweens. I found this study in the Owen Sound Sun Times through the Associated Press. A link to the Owen Sound Sun Times article can be found here. More on Owen Sound a bit later, but very quickly, thanks for all of the calls coming in from Owen Sound and Bruce-Grey County. We are enthusiastic to enter the market and look forward to serving the community as best we can.
So, without further a due, here are Brian Goldfinger’s top safety tips for Halloween 2018 (good rhyme):
- Reflective Gear is where it’s at on Halloween night: Just because it’s Halloween doesn’t mean there’s a moratorium on driving. People still drive, and have places they need to go. Lots of people don’t even celebrate Halloween. It’s just another night. Don’t assume that drivers are able to see you and your children. Assume that they can’t. Wear bright coloured gear so that you’re as visible as possible.
- Look both ways before crossing the street! Seems obvious but you would be amazed how few people do it when they’re hopped up on sugar and excitement from Halloween night. See #1 above. Don’t assume people can see you. Don’t assume that motorists will drive cautiously or safety. One mistake is all it takes for you to need a personal injury lawyer.
- Put down your cell phones Mom and Dad! Be mindful and be present on Halloween night. Instead of checking Twitter or Instagram for the latest and greatest social media blurts, keep an eye out for your loved ones. How can you look our for their safety and well being if your nose is dug deep in to your cell phone screen. Don’t get distracted on such a busy and fun night. You will enjoy it that much more if you’re mindful and in the game instead of getting lost in cyberspace.
- Keep your kids close to you; especially near the road! Parents: your kids will be running from house to house to house trying to fill up their bags to the brim with delicious candy and treats. Don’t let them get too far ahead. Keep them in sight, especially near the roads. You are their ultimate protectors. You are their extra eyes and ears to keep them out of trouble; particularly when dealing with young children. Would you trust your 7-10 year old self on an epic night going door to door collecting candy (while hopped up on adrenaline and candy?) Likely not.
- Make sure the costumes provide for good visibility. Everyone LOVES a cool and funky costume. But those costumes should not come at the expense of reduced visibility when you’re out on the streets at night. Make sure you can see properly.
- Communities Care: When I said that Halloween can bring communities and neighbourhoods together, I meant it. Don’t just be mindful of yourself and your kids. Be mindful of the kids which you share the neighbourhood with as well. That means looking out for others in your neighbourhood to make sure that they’re safe.
- Motorists be Extra Cautious: If you’re driving on Halloween night, especially in residential neighbourhoods, be mindful that children will be out trick or treating. Assume that they are wearing dark clothing and assume that they will no obey the rules of the road. Driving too fast will not provide you with sufficient time to slow down to avoid a potential collision with an unassuming trick or treater. Treat every street as if you’re driving through a School Zone where lower speed limits are required and extra fines apply for breaking the law. In the words of legendary rapper Paul Wall; Drive Slow.
- Pedestrians Make Eye Contact with Motorists at Crossings and Vice Versa: You know what prevents collisions aside from bright clothing and driving slowly? When motorists and pedestrians make eye contact. This gets the motorist and the pedestrian on the same page as to who should proceed first to avoid a potential collision at a crossing.
- Tie up those laces and tuck in those lose costumes: Tripping and falling on Halloween night sucks. Tripping and falling on Halloween night resulting in serious injury is even worse. Don’t have any lost bits of clothing that you can trip on. Assume that you will be putting in a lot of footsteps. Make sure those footsteps are sound and safe. Imagine tripping and falling trying to cross the street; with cars coming by. Not a good image….
Halloween should be a fun and enjoyable night for the kids and for the family as well. Let’s do our best to keep it safe, so you don’t need a lawyer like Brian Goldfinger fighting for your rights after a serious accident. Have a great Halloween!