Sunday, 11 March 2012

Stay Safe - Be Seen!

How many of you walk your dog after dark?

I think it's something that probably almost everyone who owns a dog has to do at some time if not regularly but do you give any thought as to what you are wearing when you are out walking in the dark?

Earlier this evening I was driving along a fairly busy and fast road. On two separate instances I suddenly caught sight of two people out walking their dogs. They were walking into the oncoming traffic which is the right thing to do, but I was literally only feet away from them before I even realised they were there. There wasn't much of a verge for them to walk on and so the people and their poor dogs were very close to the oncoming traffic. Why didn't I see them? They were all wearing very dark clothing.

If you are interested in finding out about stopping distances etc., please click on this link to read a very interesting article on pedestrians and peripheral vision (the Science bit).

I'm not sure why people put themselves and their beloved dogs at risk in this way. Perhaps they quite simply just don't think ahead. I have to confess that when I walk my dogs in the dark I look like Blackpool Illuminations. In the warmer weather I have a fluorescent waistcoat with reflective strips. In the colder weather I have a fluorescent jacket also with reflective strips. I also have two small but powerful flashing lights which attach to each of the dog's leads.  It may not look pretty but at least I can be sure drivers will see me in the dark. I think it comes from always wearing reflective gear when I am out riding my horse. Even in daylight, people wearing reflective gear can be spotted much more quickly than those not and from a much greater distance.

There are many reflective items on the market which are recommended for non-professional use including dog collars, harnesses and clothing for humans. The only thing that I would suggest is that you check the item conforms to the relevant standard for reflective gear. The standard in the UK is EN13356.

Enjoy walking your dog but please ensure that you stay safe by being seen.

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