British summertime ends on the 25th October, the clocks go back by an hour and most of us may be travelling home in the dark. This time of year always sees a rise in road collisions and casualties – let’s make sure this year is different.
However you get to work or school, there are things you can do to help yourself be seen, making sure other road users can see you.
County Councillor Don Mackenzie, Executive Member for Highways and Road Safety, explained:
With the clocks changing and the days getting shorter, it is time to think about how you prepare yourself, your family and your vehicle for the short days and dark journeys we will all be undertaking over the next few months.
These are simple but important reminders to help you to look out for and see other people using the same roads as you.
In the car
Regularly check that all of the lights are working and use them, Try to keep the car clean so that it reflects light and makes it easier to see. Don’t forget that cleaning the inside of the window is as important as the outside.
Keep your speed down so that you can always stop in the distance you can clearly see.
In the van
This also applies if you drive a van – remember that when you are loading or unloading you are particularly vulnerable, wear hi vis and keep it clean! Wherever possible try use side loading doors at the kerbside.
Be very aware that other road users may not be doing anything to keep themselves visible. Better use of your lights will help you to see and avoid others
On a bicycle
Many people riding bikes at night assume that street lights are enough for a motorist to see them as well as they can see themselves. This is not the case and many incidents involving bicycles during the dark nights are due to cyclists in dark clothing with no lights or reflectors.
Drivers are looking for lights, so when a cyclist appears with no lights, it comes as a surprise.
Things like reflective tape and flashing valve caps on any part that is moving, such as knees, ankles and valves draws drivers attention to you.
Whether walking to and from school, the shops, or walking the dog, during foggy and overcast days; wear something bright coloured and reflective. Keep to the footpath where there is one, if not, keep to the right hand side of the road so you can see oncoming traffic.
As with other vehicles, a bright shiny bike and bright and helmet will improve your chances of being seen. Light or hi-visibility clothing will help drivers behind to see you.in the dark as it will make it difficult to see pedestrians and cyclist in dark clothing.
No matter how bright and visible you have made yourself, always ride believing that the other road user has not seen you.