Autumn can be a beautiful time of year with the leaves turning colour and thankfully it is still mild enough to enjoy the outdoors. On the other hand it brings with it dark mornings, even darker evenings and the inevitable blustery and wet weather. With the kids back at school it is important to consider their safety out and about during this time.
Here are some easy ways you can keep yourself and your family safe when out and about on foot at this time of year.
Stay bright and get Reflective
Pedestrians are much more difficult to see in poor light or misty conditions. Brightly coloured or fluorescent clothing can help make you appear more visible to road users, cyclists and other pedestrians.
However, bright clothing is not much help after dark, so if you know you'll be out and about at this time, it would be wise to invest in some reflective clothing. Even a simple armband or some reflective stripes added to a bag will make you much more visible.
If you're cycling during the evening, drivers may not be able to tell if you are a pedestrian on the footpath or a cyclist at the edge of the road. You should always use lights on your bike - white on the front, red on the back - so you're easily identifiable as a cyclist.
Observe the Highway Code
It is encouraging to hear that the Department of Transport has reported the number of fatal accidents for pedestrians and pedal cyclists is falling but it is important to remember that when visibility drops the risks to road users always increase.
Following the highway code is not just for drivers it should be followed by pedestrians too and it is especially useful during autumn and winter. Remember to always use a pedestrian crossing when crossing the road and don't rush - always wait until vehicles have stopped moving before starting to cross. Just because you've seen the driver, the driver may not have seen you, particularly in poor light conditions and the effects of water, ice or snow on the road can substantially increase a car's stopping distance.
Set a good example to children
It's important to start early as teaching children good road sense is something which will stay with them for life. If you have children with you, set a good example by always using pedestrian crossings, keep them away from the kerb and teach them to stop, look and listen.
It can be easy for bad habits to creep in to your road safety routine, so stay vigilant. Don't talk on your mobile phone, cross between parked cars or run when crossing the road.
Setting a good example to other's by always using and waiting for the green signal at a crossing might just save a life one day.
The change into autumn is one of the most dangerous times of the year for pedestrians as drivers acclimatise to the changing conditions. Remembering to be safe and be seen can help keep you and your family safe this autumn.
Do you have any tips for walking or cycling in the darker months? Please share them in the comments.
About the author
Janet Guerriero is the manager of a team of lawyers at Spencers Solicitors and has more than 30 years experience in handling compensation claims.
Janet's previous blog was Which of these common driving habits is illegal?