Tort Tips for Trick-or-Treat
Halloween is one of the most popular holidays there are. While other holidays may have much more involvement ― cooking a massive meal for Thanksgiving or preparing decorated trees and wrapped gifts for Christmas ― few have the charm of dressing up as your favorite fictional character and receiving candy for it.
And, of course, the first thing anyone thinks of when the Halloween season rolls around is, “How can I be safe so that I avoid being involved in a lawsuit?”
Well, not really. But, nevertheless, any time you and your family plan to traverse the streets of a neighborhood, it’s always important to keep safety tips in mind. So, here is your lawyer-approved safety advice for this spooky season:
1. Remember that automobile traffic will still exist
In my experience, public roadways don’t close down for trick-or-treating. That means, just as any other time, it’s important to be conscientious of the roads, especially while crossing and to take note of the traffic approaching from any direction. As the winter solstice approaches, daylight shortens day by day. If a particular neighborhood is busy with trick-or-treaters filling the sidewalks and streets, it’s easy to see how a driver may be overwhelmed or may have their attention split too many ways. Be extra careful on such a night.
2. Wear reflective or bright colors
Orange maybe my least favorite color, but it’s Halloween-themed, and it’s also quite noticeable. I’d say that you are far better off, safety-wise, dressing up as a giant, orange jack-o-lantern than a black cat, for instance. If you can incorporate reflective material in your outfit, that would be all the better. (Or, even more spectacular and noticeable would be a jack-o-lantern outfit with actual, battery-powered orange lights. Maybe I’m giving myself ideas for next year already here.) Long story short, the more light you reflect or emit, the more you can be seen by motorists. The more you’re seen, the safer you are.
3. Remember right-of-way!
Halloween or trick-or-treating generally won’t change the law on who has the right-of-way. At any intersection where there is no other traffic control, such as a traffic light, pedestrians have the right-of-way at crosswalks. (Remember, in Pennsylvania, crosswalks exist between any two corners, whether marked or unmarked. That being said, marked ones are obviously more visible and obvious to drivers.) Now, that being said, right-of-way doesn’t mean it’s safe, prudent, or even necessarily responsible to simply wander out into a crosswalk without looking. Right-of-way is a legal right, but it’s no substitute for common sense, such as looking both ways before you cross. At any intersection with traffic control in the form of a light, obey the walk symbols, or, if there are none, cross only when it’s safe to do so and when the lane you’re crossing has a red light.
4. Candy safety
Wrapped and sealed candies are much more likely to be safe to eat than unwrapped, opened, or custom-made treats. It may also be prudent to forgo eating any of your treats until you’re home in ample light so you can inspect the spoils of your spooky adventures.
5. Trick-or-treat etiquette
The age-old rule for which houses to visit is usually easy: houses with the front porch light on are inviting all sorts of manner of ghost, ghoul, and goblin, but ones that have their front porch light off wish to be spared ghastly visitations. Please respect the choices of us mere mortals. Similarly, whatever the designated trick-or-treat hours are for your area, respect them for the same reasons.
6. Have fun
Don’t let this advice or the un-Halloween-like instructions of an attorney take away from the point of the holiday: dress up, get candy, and enjoy yourself. There are so few times that it’s socially acceptable to reveal our true, werewolf, zombie, or ghost selves, so relish the night. But be warned: ye who inspire fear this year may find yeself spooked yourself in the years to come…
If you’ve been injured in an accident, contact Cohen, Feeley, Altemose & Rambo at (610) 625-2100. Consultations are always free, and your peace of mind may be only a phone call away.