It’s that time of year again! The leaves are changing and there is a chill in the air. The kids have their costumes and are excited to bounce from house to house collecting candy. However, as a personal injury lawyer, it is shocking the amount of preventable accidents I see on Halloween. It is dark, and small children easily forget the lessons they learn about looking both ways before crossing the street. As a parent, you need to take precautions when the kids are running around the neighbourhood.
Some easy suggestions:
- Clip on a small, flashing LED light to the back and front of your child’s costume. These lights are easily available through websites like Amazon and are generally inexpensive.
- Reflective tape is also a good alternative if you do not have access to the LED lights.
- Review the rules of the road with your kids before they leave the house. Make sure they are staying on sidewalks and not running out onto the road without looking. Crosswalks should be favoured when possible.
- Try to avoid tight-fitting masks that limit your child’s peripheral vision. They may look both ways before crossing but missed the oncoming car because their field of vision was limited.
- Costumes that hamper movement should also be avoided. Your child could follow all the rules but it will be a moot point if they are falling down in the middle of the road because their costume is too tight.
- Follow the kids on their trick or treat route. Make sure that they are following the rules.
As a motorist, you should be very aware of your surroundings on Halloween. If you are driving through a suburban neighbourhood, make sure you are below the speed limit and hyper-vigilant for crossing kids. In Nova Scotia, there is a reverse negligence onus for drivers who hit a pedestrian. In normal motor vehicle accidents, it is the Plaintiff that must prove that the other driver was negligent. With accidents involving a pedestrian, the driver must prove that they were not negligent in the circumstances. It is a subtle difference but makes it much easier for pedestrians to bring claims against at-fault drivers.