With the time change signalling the return to darker evenings, the Donegal Road Safety Working Group is urging all road users especially cyclists and pedestrians to stay safe and be seen.
Already this year, 127 people have been killed and many more have been seriously injured in road traffic collisions in Ireland.
The sad reality is that many of these deaths and serious injuries could have been avoided, said Donegal County Council’s Road Safety Officer, Brian O’Donnell.
“Our message is simple. This means wearing a hi-viz jacket and being seen if you are walking, running, cycling or riding a motorbike. Slow down if you are a driver, especially when sharing the road with vulnerable road users. Everyone wearing a seat belt, front and rear on every trip and ensuring children are properly restrained too. Do not drive while being distracted by a mobile phone, never drive while impaired, whether through drink, drugs or driver fatigue and pay attention to what is happening when you are using the road.
“With evenings getting darker much earlier, and fewer hours of daylight during the day, we all need to work together to keep people safe. Road users need to make an extra effort to look out for children, pedestrians and cyclists. Pedestrians, joggers and cyclists should wear bright clothing, reflective jackets or armbands, to ensure they are seen by other road-users when out on the roads. Cyclists must use front and rear lights and reflectors and we also stress the importance of them wearing a helmet.”
They also urged all motorists to check and ensure their vehicles are fit for winter.
“Tyres must be in good condition and meet the legal requirement. A defective tyre could lead to a serious accident. All lights must be clean, working and correctly adjusted. Remember to use dipped headlights when driving in poor weather. Our advice is that if your vehicle wipers are switched on, so should your dipped headlights. If you have fog lights, use them when the weather is foggy, but remember it is illegal to use these lights at other times. Listen to the weather and travel advice on the news and if needs be, leave extra time to ensure that you arrive safely.
“We all need to play our part in road safety, especially as it gets darker earlier. Road users must accept their responsibility to think about their actions on the roads and modify their driving to cope with winter conditions. Similarly, pedestrians and cyclists need to stay safe and be seen,” he said.