Key Points in this Article:
- From Detroit to Ann Arbor, annual Halloween celebrations and trick-or-treating fun can unfortunately also be filled with tragedy due to negligent homeowners, pedestrian traffic, loose pets, and unsafe drivers.
- Unlike any other time of the year, the candy-collecting evening spent outdoors presents a collection of circumstances that together can pose an increase in personal injuries to pedestrians and motorists.
- Homeowners need to keep their driveway, porch entrance, and sidewalk well-lit to show a safe pathway to trick-or-treaters.
- Children should be warned that car and truck drivers may not see them if they are walking in an alleyway, waiting in a driveway or when cutting through parking lots.
Watch Out! Halloween Dangers Can Cause Serious Injury to Michigan Trick-or-Treaters
Michigan families can avoid real-life horror on Halloween night by simply being better prepared for it. Because sadly, one of the most exciting nights out can also be considered one of the most dangerous for accidents involving children. We want to help families prevent those injuries by reviewing a few tips on how to keep the night free from an accident that could haunt a lifetime.
- Slips, Trips and Falls: Both parents and homeowners must recognize the dangers lurking from decorations, candlelit pumpkins, broken steps or loose porch railings. A child who trips may only scrape a knee, but they could also hit their head and be left with a permanent disability or worse, sustain a fatal injury. Help keep your personal property safe for trick-or-treating children and their families by cleaning up your home, porch, stairs, driveway and yard.
- Clear a path and remove any obstructions or hazards such as electrical power cords, leaves, branches, potted plants, and hoses.
- Repair loose porch railings, steps or floorboards that may pose a safety threat to your door knocking Halloween guests.
- Choose to illuminate your pumpkins with battery operated lights rather than fire.
- Add a string of lights around the front porch for extra visibility.
- Dog Bites: Dogs are incredible family pets, but the truth is, even ‘man’s best friend’ can unexpectedly bite. On Halloween night it is best to keep Fido in a closed room away from your disguised and excited guests.
- Ensure your dog is properly leashed or attached to a stationary object when left outside, well away from pedestrians and other people.
- If your dog is joining in on your family trick-or-treating adventure, remember they must be on a leash per Michigan law – MCL 287.262. Failure to do so can lead to fines and civil damages if your dog attacks.
- Hazardous Costumes: Play clothing, costume accessories and masks can make it difficult for kids to see sidewalk paths or cross a street with ease, increasing the odds they will not see a vehicle or other groups of people approaching.
- Parents should consider how visible their child’s costume is and add reflective tape, flashlights, or glow-in-the-dark items to increase their costume’s visibility to others.
- Trick-or-treaters of all ages should be reminded to practice safe pedestrian behaviors such as obeying traffic signals, and always look twice before crossing streets and walking between parked cars.
- Advise your children to never wait for others in front of a driveway or near the edge of the road.
- Drunk or Drugged Drivers: According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, a majority of drunk-driving crashes occur from 6:00 p.m. on October 31 to 6:00 a.m. on November 1, and drivers aged 21 to 34-year-olds are responsible for half of the impaired driver accidents that occur on Halloween night. The significant rise of these dangerous drivers add harm to young pedestrians and other families traveling in vehicles.
- Whether you have to use a rideshare app like Uber or Lyft or find a designated driver to take you home, it’s important to have a sober driving plan and NEVER drive while impaired by any amount of a drug or alcohol.
- Distracted Drivers: While it may only feel like your eyes are off the road for too long, sending a quick message or reading a one-line text while operating a moving vehicle is said by crash analysts to be as dangerous and spooky as drunk driving. Don’t use your phone and drive, ever.
According to University of Michigan researchers, using Michigan State Police traffic crash reports, urban hubs and densely populated suburban communities with the highest number of distracted driving-related crashes in Michigan include:
- Grand Rapids
- Bloomfield Township (Oakland County)
- Sterling Heights
Share This Safe Trick-Or-Treating Checklist
Our team at The Lee Steinberg Law Firm is sending the happiest wishes to all Michigan communities for a fun, happy and safe Halloween season. Here are some additional tips to add to your pre-trick-or-treating checklist.
- Check your local news listings to know when trick-or-treating hours will be in your community.
- Don’t drink and drive on Halloween or any other time of the year.
- Drivers should take extra precaution for noticing children waiting at crosswalks or near roads.
- Homeowners need to keep their driveway, porch entrance, and sidewalk well-lit.
- Avoid lighting candles because they can pose a fire hazard, according to the National Fire Protection Association.
- Warn children that a driver of a motor vehicle may not see them if they are walking in an alleyway or cutting through parking lots.
- Avoid using a cell phone, smoking, eating, drinking, or reading while driving.
- Choose a well-fitting and unmasked costume for trick-or-treating.
- Bring a flashlight and be seen if adventuring after dark.
- Keep your dog away from roaming the yard and in a room opposite where Halloween goers will be waiting to receive their treats.
Please share these messages with the families in your neighborhood, as well as friends planning a trick-or-treat night out with their children.
Contact Michigan’s Most Trusted Personal Injury Attorneys
If something goes wrong and an accident occurs during a family outing, please know that our experienced personal injury attorneys are always here to help. You can call and speak to our car accident attorneys at 1-800-LEE-FREE (1-800-533-3733) to request a free consultation, or fill out the Free Case Evaluation Form.