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Be Seen in the Winter Darkness

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Many people think that streetlights are enough, but the statistics don't agree. When darkness falls, you may see the car but the driver may not see you. Ajay Woozageer, Senior Media Liaison Officer for the On­tario Ministry of Transportation reports that as darkness falls, the risks to pedestrians increase.

"In 2010, the most recent Ontario data available [Ontario Road Safety Annual Report], the peak times for serious injuries and fatalities to pedestrians involved in mo­tor vehicle collisions was between 4pm and 9pm", said Woozageer. He also points out that, as the days get shorter in the winter months, motor vehicle accidents involving pedes­trians increase. "The most dangerous times for pedes­trians is during the autumn and winter months", said Woozageer. "From 2006 to 2010, 40% of serious injuries and 42% of fatalities to pedestrians occurred between October and January."

In Canada and other Nordic countries that experience longer periods of darkness in the winter months, this problem is nothing new. Finland invented the one thing that has, according to the World Health Organization's Global Status Report on Road Safety, made Scandina­vian countries experience the lowest pedestrian vs. vehicle accidents in the world. The humble safety reflector...

Safety Reflectors
Finland invented the safety reflector and in 1960, it was quickly adapted; allowing kids and adults to be safe when they were out walking and biking. The Finns feel so strongly about pedestrians wear­ing reflectors that it is the law for all pedestrians to wear safety reflectors when they are out walking in dark conditions.
Since the 60's Scandinavian schools and organi­zations have taught all school age children about the virtue of wearing safety reflectors. Now, all pedestrians and bikers in Scandinavia from 80 year-olds to a walking toddler unconsciously wear them. Thanks to many successful campaigns, wear­ing safety reflectors has become a common part of everyday life.

According to the Norwegian Council for Road Safety, wearing reflectors can reduce your risk of being hit by a car by 85%. Without a reflector the driver of a car may only see you when you are only 25-30 meters away. Driving at 50 kph (30 mph) this gives the driver only 2 seconds to react. A pedestrian's reflector can be seen shining at 140 meters in the headlights, giving the driver a full 10 seconds to see you and react accordingly.


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By Kari Svenneby founder of ActiveKidsclub.com to an online resource for getting families outdoors. When Kari could not find any wearable safety reflector in the city of Toronto, she decided to create her own line of safety reflectors for Canadians. ActiveKidsClub.com Safety Reflectors.

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