Keeping safe on dark and slippery roads

Des Ryan, a retired Toronto police officer, is a CRA board director and our volunteer safety and security lead.

As you have noticed, we are seeing a lot less the sun these days, which means that little ones are going to and returning home from school in varying degrees of darkness. As motorists and cyclists, that means that we have to be extra careful because we, too, are driving in the dark, and we’re not yet used to watching for kids when it isn’t daylight out.

The roads are now getting a little slippery, too. If it’s not wet leaves, it’s that early-morning ice that we are starting to experience. We’ve already had a bit of a snowfall, which should be a reminder that we need to make sure that we have our winter tires on our cars and the windshield wiper fluid topped up before we head out.

Cyclists have likely figured out that dressing for the weather is a non-negotiable as the winds get colder.

And, as you know, we love our dogs in Cabbagetown. Mother Nature may be on a winter schedule, but Skipster likely has the same bio-break schedule, which means that you’re out before the sun comes up (although, from my own observations, a lot of you already are!) and out at least a couple of times after dark. I am confident that you are taking all precautions to keep your dog(s) safe when on the roads.

Be sure that you, too, are safe. Consider reflective gear such as a high-visibility vest (very popular in Ireland, btw!) and/or gloves or, at the very least, a reflective leash or collar for your pup(s).

As drivers, again, we need to remember that there will be people out walking their dogs in the dark before and after work and consider that even the best-trained pooch can be coerced into run across the street by a squirrel or other fun-looking moving object. Slow down!

Finally, there are those of us who just enjoy going out for a walk. No dog(s). No kid(s). Just a warm jacket and a good pair of boots. Consider that drivers of cars and bicycles may not be looking for you as you hop across the street between intersections or they may not be able to stop as quickly as you might think they should be able to. Take an extra look and another moment before you step out. When it is dark out, whether you are dropping off/picking up kids, walking dogs, or just out enjoying the scenery, be sure to See and Be Seen.

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