With Halloween coming this weekend ICBC is reminding drivers and trick-or-treaters to be on the lookout for each other.
ICBC Media Relations Advisor Greg Harper says on average, 270 people are injured in 890 crashes across the province on October 31st. In the Southern Interior, an average of 28 people are injured in 120 crashes, and in the North Central, 9 people are injured in 57 crashes each Halloween. (5-year average between 2016-2020).
Harper says to expect more trick-or-treaters to be busier than a year ago, because of fewer COVID-19 restrictions.
Harper provides the following safety tips for drivers on Halloween.
Drive well below the speed limit
“This is very important in residential neighbourhoods between 5 PM to 9 PM, that’s when children will be out trick-or-treating, driving slowly will give you more time to react.”
Don’t pass a slower or stopped vehicle in front of you
“That vehicle has slowed down or stopped likely for a reason. They may be yielding for a pedestrian, stopping to let a child cross the road or something else you might not be able to see.”
Focus on the road, leave the phone alone
“On Halloween, especially in some of these neighbourhoods, you may see some brightly decorated homes, some interesting costumes, there are lots of things that can distract you, just focus on the road ahead.”
Expect the unexpected
“Be ready to yield to pedestrians, anticipate children darting across the street or walking in places they don’t walk in your neighbourhood usually, things like an alleyway or parking lot. A lot of children will be extra excited and not realize there’s a vehicle approaching.”
Arrange for a safe ride home
“There will be Halloween parties this weekend, and if you plan to celebrate Halloween with alcohol, make sure you have a designated driver in place. If that isn’t possible, arrange ahead of time to get a taxi, rideshare, or transit to get you home safely.”
Harper says safety isn’t just on the onus of drivers, but on pedestrians and trick-or-treaters as well.
Be bright, be seen
“If you can, have your child wear a costume that’s brightly coloured, maybe you add reflector tape to it, a headlamp is great, equip yourself with a flashlight.”
Follow the rules of the road
“When trick-or-treating with your children, always walk on sidewalks, and cross only at crosswalks. If there is no sidewalk, walk to the very edge of the road and do so facing traffic. If you have older children that will be going out trick or treating with friends, go over the rules of the road with them before they go. Another key thing is to remind trick-or-treaters to go all the way up the road in one direction and then head back the other, don’t be crossing back and forth.”
Be careful at intersections
“Vehicles may be turning left or right, and not notice you are there.”
Make eye contact with drivers
“This can be difficult when it’s dark and when it’s raining, but try and do that. Never assume a driver has seen you.”
“Let’s make this Halloween the safest one yet,” Harper says, “If both drivers and pedestrians take extra precautions, I think that’s possible.”
Files from Darin Bain, MyCaribooNow