During the Winter months and early Spring, it is usually cold and dark as you rush for your car. You might be thinking about work or home, but before you get in your vehicle and go, we encourage you to think outside the box a bit and consider your car as others do. What are some of the things that “outsiders” need to see in order to see your car?
Imagine you were a pedestrian or another motorist at dusk – would you be visible?
Here are some questions to ask yourself:
- Do all of your running lights work properly?
- Would a car travelling behind you at dawn or dusk or in snow, fog or rain be able to see your vehicle and have enough distance to stop? Running lights are standard on many newer model cars, but just because your front daytime running lights are on, does not always mean your tail lights are on. Remember to turn on all your lights before you begin driving!(except your fog lights, which should only be used in foggy conditions)
- Is your car clean and easy to see? If you drive in places that freeze and thaw frequently or are mucky, keep your headlights and taillights clean so they can shine brightly and are visible to others. Keeping the inside and outside of your windows clean will also help prevent glare from light at low angles, such as the setting sun and the headlights of oncoming traffic.
We usually think of our wheels as a means to an end, getting in at Point A and out at Point B. But getting home safely involves everyone else on the road along the way. These are some of the things we can do to increase our own visibility and presence on the road. But, what about the safety of bicyclists, pedestrians, and the road maintenance crews who we cross paths with along the way?
What can pedestrians and cyclists do to increase their visibility on the road?
- If you are a pedestrian or cyclist, see and be seen. Dress brightly, wear a safety vest or LED light. Be aware of the surrounding traffic. Black may be a fashion constant, but on the road, wearing black won’t turn any heads. (If you cannot do without your basic blacks, accessorize with safety stripping… it’s your chance to shine!)
- As a pedestrian, you have the right of way in a cross walk, but if a motorist cannot see you, your safety could be at risk. Just because you see the car, does not mean the car sees you. Make eye contact with motorists whenever possible and do not cross the road until all vehicles have come to a complete stop.
- Do not use cell phones or wear headphones while riding your bike or while you are walking in areas of high traffic. Be aware of your surroundings and keep alert.
And let’s not forget the rules of the road. Sure, you passed your test years ago with flying colours, but a little refresher now and then is always a good idea. Think of it as an easy ‘A’.
As drivers, it can be really easy to think of the world as we see it from inside our car. But if you take a few moments to put yourself in someone else’s shoes (or work boots), chances are you might see things a little differently than before.