There are times when you may not want to be seen on the roads, like when you’re singing your heart out behind the wheel, or crossing the road to go to Macca’s during your nutritional cleansing month.
But whether you’re walking, driving or cycling, if you want to stay safe on the roads, you have to stay seen.
In 2016 alone there were 1,293 fatalities on Australian roads, and motorcyclists, cyclists and pedestrians made up half of those deaths. A large figure contributing to the risk of a motorcyclist, cyclist or pedestrian being involved in a road accident or fatality is the fact that they are harder to be seen by other road users.
But they don’t have to be. There are plenty of ways to ensure you are conspicuous on the road, so take a minute to learn how you can stay safe and seen.
Reading not for you? Watch this short video about conspicuity by leading Australian Road Safety researcher Dr Bridie Scott-Parker.
What is conspicuity?
Conspicuity is the state of being easily seen or noticed. In terms of road safety, it is ensuring you are visible to other road users.
Who is at risk of being inconspicuous?
Although cyclists and pedestrians are at most risk of not being visible to other road users, cars can also have low conspicuity.
Accident claims data from Youi Insurance reveal that dark coloured cars are 25% more likely to be in an accident than light coloured cars, and this is believed to be a result of darker cars being less visible to other drivers on the road. Since dark coloured cars put you at higher risk of collisions, and since car insurance premiums are calculated based on risk, this means that it’s very likely a dark coloured car may incur a higher premium than a lighter one. With this in mind, you may want to consider how conspicuous your car is knowing it could have an impact on your overall safety.
What can you do to increase conspicuity?
Ensuring you and your car are visible on the road is important not only for your own safety, but for the safety of all road users. That’s why having a conspicuity plan is an important part of being a responsible driver. Here are just a few things you can do to plan to be conspicuous.
- Plan your day in advance and identify times where you might not be visible to others. For example, will you be walking to your car in the dark? Walking from the train to your car at night? Are you dressed in dark colours and plan on crossing the streets?
- Have the right tools on you to make yourself visible, like reflective tape, clothing and lights.
- Always consider whether or not your car is visible to other road users. If you have a dark coloured car, be sure to switch your headlights on 30 minutes after sunset, until 30 minutes before sunrise. Also remember to pay attention to weather conditions; if you’re having trouble seeing out of your own windshield due to fog or rain, then chances are, other road users are having trouble seeing you too.
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