Waking up in the dark is a reality for many now that old man winter is rolling in. It won’t be long until commuters will be driving home in the dark as well. With that comes a host of challenges and potential hazards, according to local road safety coordinator Kate Woochuck.
With Daylight Saving Time ending at 2 a.m. on Sunday, Nov. 1, Woochuck believes now is the time to remind those planning to be out and about this winter to make sure they are visible.
Woochuck and ICBC are working with Carol-Ann Rolls, manager of Cowichan Community Policing’s volunteer programs and services, to remind pedestrians, cyclists and motorists of the hazards shorter daylight hours, inclement weather and reduced visibility bring.
“Crashes with pedestrians spike dramatically in fall and winter as the weather changes and daylight hours decrease,” Woochuk said. “When you’re walking, make eye contact, wear bright and reflective clothing, and stay focused on the road. When you’re driving, take extra time to look for pedestrians before turning, avoid distractions and be ready to yield.”
She recommends motorists avoid distractions and be more aware of pedestrians and cyclists, check twice, yield to pedestrians and be ready to stop.
Community Policing volunteers have partnered again this year with ICBC Road Safety to help raise awareness of the importance of pedestrian visibility.
Anyone using the roads — pedestrians, those on scooters, cyclists and equestrians — is encouraged to stop by the Community Policing offices on Canada Avenue and pick up a free personal reflector. The reflector should be attached to clothing or gear so that it swings freely along the side of your body facing traffic.
“Working with our road safety partners, we are pleased to see the return of the ‘We want to see more of you’ campaign this year,” Rolls said. “We are committed to contributing to community safety, and we hope that this campaign will continue to shift behaviours and encourage pedestrian safety.”
Be on the lookout for volunteers in the community trying to bring the message home.