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​​A nightmare on B.C. roads – crashes 25 per cent higher on Halloween

October 24, 2017

Halloween is meant to be a fun celebration, but it can also be risky if parents, children and drivers don't take precautions. Compared to an average day, crashes spike by 25 per cent on Halloween with 330 people injured in 920 crashes across B.C.*

With Halloween celebrations starting this weekend, here are ICBC's tips to keep ghosts and goblins of all ages safe:

Tips for drivers

  • Stay well below the speed limit: Drive well below the speed limit in residential areas, especially between 5:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m., the peak time for trick-or-treating. A car going 30 km/hr travels 18 metres – about the length of four cars – in order to come to a complete stop. Driving at a lower speed will give you more time to stop in case a child runs across the street unexpectedly.

  • Scan as you drive: Children may be walking in unexpected places like driveways, alleys and parking lots. Drive slowly and be prepared to stop at a moment's notice.

  • Don't roll through stop signs or intersections: Come to a full stop at all intersections and look all around you. Even if you think you don't see anyone, small children can be difficult to see, especially if they're wearing a dark costume.

  • Do not pass a slow or stopped vehicle: Have patience on Halloween night. Many drivers will be driving slowly to watch out for trick-or-treaters. If a car is slowing down or stopped in front of you, don't try to pass the car. They may be stopping to let children cross the road, or stopping for something else you cannot see.

  • Watch out for drunk drivers: Designated drivers for adult party-goers should be on high alert for things that go bump in the night – like drunk drivers. Telltale signs include weaving, sudden braking or acceleration, drifting out of their lane, and slow responses to traffic signals. If you suspect an impaired driver, keep a safe distance, and pull over to call 9-1-1 to report to police. Note the make, model, colour and license plate and give the exact location of the vehicle.

Tips to keep kids safe

  • Make sure the costume fits: A costume that's too big or small could cause a child to trip and fall, causing injury.

  • Be bright to be seen: Many costumes are quite dark, making your child less visible at night. Try to nudge your child toward a lighter costume. If your child insists on being a ninja this year, add reflective tape to their outfit and treat bag, and make them use a flashlight or headlamp to help them stand out in the dark.

  • Create a safe route: If your kids are trick-or-treating without you, plan a safe route for your children and their friends. The best route should be familiar, well-established, direct and away from busy main roads. Set a return time.

  • Travel in groups: Organize a group to trick-or-treat together. Walking in a group will make you and your children more visible to drivers.

  • Follow the rules of the road: Always walk on sidewalks and cross only at crosswalks when travelling with your child. If there is no sidewalk, walk as far to the edge as possible, facing traffic. For older children that are trick-or-treating with friends, review the rules and remind them to work their way up one side of the street, instead of crossing back and forth.

  • Consider other ways to celebrate: Instead of traditional trick-or-treating, consider hosting a Halloween party for your child and their friends, attending a Halloween party if offered at local community centres, or taking your child to a local shopping centre that offers trick-or-treating opportunities in a well-lit, controlled environment.

Tips for adults to celebrate safely

  • Plan for a safe ride home: If your Halloween celebrations involve alcohol, make a plan before you head out. Arrange for a designated driver or use other options to get home safely—call a taxi, take transit or call a sober friend.

  • Light fireworks safely: In areas that allow the purchase of fireworks, light your fireworks in a clear, open and safe space. Lighting fireworks on the road is not safe for you or drivers.

Regional statistics*

  • On average, 240 people are injured in 620 crashes on Halloween in the Lower Mainland.

  • On average, 33 people are injured in 130 crashes on Halloween on Vancouver Island.

  • On average, 40 people are injured in 110 crashes on Halloween in the Southern Interior.

  • On average, 16 people are injured in 65 crashes on Halloween in the North Central region.

*Crashes and injuries are from ICBC data based on a five year average (2011 to 2015) on Halloween, the 24-hour period on October 31st of each year.

Joanna Linsangan
604-982-2480