Halloween is supposed to be a fun-filled time for both children and adults, but for too many British Columbians, October 31st winds up being a nightmare.
Last year was particularly scary, with 370 people hurt in 1,000 crashes on Halloween, a substantial increase over 2017 when 290 people were injured.
Stay well below the speed limit. This is essential in residential areas between 5 p.m. and 9 p.m. when children are trick-or-treating. Driving slowly will give you more time to react. A vehicle travelling 30 km/hr needs about 18 metres – the length of four cars – to stop. Expect the unexpected. Children tend to have their minds more on treats than road safety on Halloween. Anticipate seeing children dart across the street or walking in unusual places like driveways, parking lots and alleys. Do not pass a slow or stopped vehicle. Patience is key on Halloween night. Many people will be driving slowly as they watch out for trick-or-treaters. If a car is slowing down or stopped in front of you, don't try to pass. The driver may be stopping to let children cross the road or for something else you can't see. Leave your phone alone. Distracted driving is one of the main factors in crashes involving pedestrians. With so many children out on Halloween night, it's important to stay focused on the road and be aware of your surroundings. Be bright to be seen. Encourage children to wear lighter-coloured costumes, add reflective tape to their outfit and treat bag, and equip them with a flashlight or headlamp to help them stand out in the dark. Follow the rules of the road. When trick-or-treating with your child, always walk on sidewalks and cross only at crosswalks. If there is no sidewalk, walk as far to the edge of the road as possible, facing traffic. For older children that are trick-or-treating with friends, review the rules of the road and remind them to work their way up one side of the street, instead of crossing back and forth. Plan a safe ride home. If your Halloween celebrations involve alcohol, plan your way home before you head out for the night. Arrange for a designated driver or use other options like a taxi or transit to get home safely.
An average of 260 people are injured in 660 crashes on Halloween in the Lower Mainland. An average of 32 people are injured in 140 crashes on Halloween on Vancouver Island. An average of 29 people are injured in 110 crashes on Halloween in the Southern Interior. An average of 10 people are injured in 59 crashes Halloween in the North Central region.
*Crashes and injuries are from ICBC data (5-year average, 2014-2018) for the 24-hour period on October 31.