Donegal County Council and the Donegal Road Safety Working Group are asking everyone to support their latest campaign ‘Be Safe Be Seen’ by wearing bright coloured or high visibility clothing when walking or cycling this winter.
More than two thirds of fatal pedestrian collisions happen during the hours of darkness. Although pedestrians can hear a car coming and see it’s lights, it’s driver may not see the pedestrian and certainly won’t hear them.
Supporting the campaign, Mayor Frank McBrearty said, “With the winter bringing darker mornings and evenings there is an increased risk to all road users. Every year in Ireland people are being killed or seriously injured simply because they could not be seen by drivers. Wearing a high visibility vest or an armband is a simple way of increasing your visibility and keeping you safe.”
Donegal County Council are providing free reflective armbands to members of the public and they can be picked up at any Public Service Centre.
Mayor McBrearty added, “I would encourage everyone to drop into their local Public Services Centre and pick up an armband. It’s important to keep the armband in the jacket you normally wear out and not in a drawer at home, so you have access to it, when you find yourself out in the dark.”
The Donegal Road Safety Working Group is also asking drivers to check that both headlights are working and to use dipped headlights during day light hours.
According to research, using dipped headlights or Daytime Running Light (DRL) has a high potential to increase road safety. It helps road users to detect and recognise vehicles earlier and better. Studies estimate the life-saving potential of DRL to be in the order of 3 to 5% of annual road deaths.
Donegal County Council’s Road Safety Officer Eamonn Brown said, “Sadly, it is far too evident that many motorists are not checking that both of their vehicle’s headlights are working correctly. At the start of every journey, drivers should take thirty seconds to ensure that each headlight is working and adjusted correctly. The easiest way to do that is by switching on your lights and looking for the headlights’ reflection on a window, against a wall or fence or by just walk around your vehicle.
“Having a headlight out is dangerous in two ways: not only can the driver of the vehicle not see properly in an unlit road with only half the usual light available, but the defective headlight means that other road users will have difficulty spotting the vehicle properly or in some cases mistaking it for a motorbike – a major danger when overtaking.” The campaign also includes pedal cyclists and motorcyclists who are asked to ensure that other road users can see them at all times.