This time of year is also the danger zone for pedestrians. The Insurance Corporation of British Columbia (ICBC) observes that November, December, and January are months when vehicles crash into pedestrians, with dusk being the worst time. Even more sobering 75 per cent of pedestrians are being crashed into at intersections, with 57 per cent of those crashes happening when the pedestrian actually was legally crossing and had the right of way.
As reported in the Vancouver Sun a study involving University of British Columbia researchers have identified Halloween night as having a 43 per cent higher risk of pedestrian deaths than any other night close to that date. Using available traffic data from the United States, the researchers looked at 608 pedestrian deaths that occurred on 42 previous Halloween nights, and found similar findings to that of a study done 20 years ago.
Despite the fact that vehicles are equipped with better safety systems and lights, “car-pedestrian accidents kill four more people on average on Halloween than on other days…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.”
Why would children between ages 4 to 8 be more likely to die? Researchers think that because of the excitement of the holiday that kids forget about vehicular danger. Children are also below the visibility sight lines on many of the bigger SUVs being driven today. The study also concluded that deaths peak at dusk.
An American university study found that children between the ages of 6 and 14 years of age were not able to judge the speed, distance, and judge the safe crossing time in moving traffic. Advice given for a safe Halloween for young trick or treaters include “Attach reflective patches to costumes, carry a flashlight or glow stick to be more visible, make sure masks don’t obstruct vision, and look both ways before crossing the street.”
Those reflective patches on kids’ outwear are a requirement in Finland, and have contributed to lowering the fatality rate in that country.
And for motorists during the wet cold winter months? Slow down, change your driver behaviour, and remember to watch for pedestrians.
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