Pedestrian Killed In Accident


When you’re driving, how well do you see pedestrians or bikers?  How about at night?

Man in darknessIt’s raining in California – at last! Yesterday our day was wet and gray and darkness came early. We stuck close to home and didn’t even take the car out.

Probably a good idea. According to Marc Green, legal expert in “Human Factors” (vision, perception, memory, etc.), “ [the] pedestrian fatality rate is three times higher at night.”

Darkness, smoke, fog, rain = all mean lower visibility and even greater danger for pedestrians.

Somewhere someone is experiencing these conditions right now.

In an emergency, conditions will be worse.

Imagine yourself on foot, either as a victim or as a responder. Street lights are out. The roadway has buckled and cracked so vehicle headlights are jerking and flashing in all directions. Blustery rain is coming down and water is pooling everywhere.

Drivers don’t know what to expect — so their reaction times are slower than ever.

What can you do to protect yourself? Wear high-visibility clothing.

We see safety vests every day, worn by people working in construction, landscaping, traffic control and clean-up. These workers’ vests are required by OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Agency) and, in fact, they must “reflect from all sides for 1,000 feet” in the dark.

Smart joggers and cyclists have taken to wearing reflective clothing as a safety precaution when they are out in the dark. Typically they have wrist or ankle bands or reflective tape on a backpack or fender. High-fashion garb has stripes, sometimes even small LED lights built in.

(As a driver, I appreciate their efforts, and find myself yelling at those who DON’T make it easy for me to see them.)

The BEST gear is both fluorescent and reflective, or retroreflective.

Fluorescent materials actually emit light by converting invisible ultra-violet rays to visible light. They work best in low natural light, particularly dawn or dusk. Reflective materials bounce a beam of light off their surface – thus they only work as long as a light is shining on them. Retroreflective materials combine both fluorescent and reflective properties.

Get high visibility gear into your emergency kit.

Some popular high-visibility “vests” really look just like a pair of wide suspenders and belt. Convenient to carry and easy to slip on and fit. Here’s a popular one from Amazon: Rioa Best Reflective Safety Vest – Stay Safe Jogging, Cycling, Working, Motorcycle Riding, or Running – Elastic and Easily Adjustable Means the Best Running Gear Around


In my estimation these belts, even with wrist or ankle bands, may not provide enough coverage.  In fact, if you are moving in an emergency situation – crawling, running, bending, digging – the viewer may see movement but not be able to tell what it is he or she is actually seeing.

I prefer a full vest, like the one pictured below: High Visibility Gear Set of Reflective Safety Vest with Pocket + 2 Wristbands+Bag | Perfect for Running Walking Cycling Jogging Motorcycle | Fluorescent Yellow | Size L/XL This vest will make it clear that you’re a person. It has a pocket for your phone or keys, and comes with a small storage pouch.  The hourglass design leaves your sides less visible, so arm/wrist bands help fill in that gap.

Adding a high visibility vest to your emergency kit is easy, and you will find that you pull your vest out more often than you might have thought. For example, I’ve used mine just to walk from a distant parking lot to an event, and I’ve lent it to a friend who found herself drafted to direct traffic during a race. Of course, for CERT trainings I wear my CERT vest, but it is bulky and no where near so comfortable (!).

Virginia
Your Emergency Plan Guide Team

P.S. Be sure to consider what you might be wearing UNDER the vest to be sure you get the right size.

 

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