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Visibility and Road Safety

Background information: Be Visible Be Seen

Seeing and being seen are fundamental pre-requisites for the safety of all road users. Inadequate visibility is an important factor that influences the risk of a road crash among all types of road users. In South Africa approximately 40% of road fatalities are pedestrian fatalities and accident investigations often reveal that the pedestrians have not been visible to motorists.

International Overview

The World Health Organization has provided more detail on the need for visibility on the road in the World Report on road traffic injury prevention. These findings include the following:
In highly-motorized countries, inadequate visibility plays an important role in three types of crash:

In low-income and middle-income countries, the poor visibility of pedestrians and vehicles is a serious problem. The mix of motorized and non-motorized traffic, together with poor street lighting, increases the risk of unprotected road users not being seen. Non-use of low-cost interventions such as bicycle lamps or reflective equipment exacerbates already unsafe conditions.

The extent to which poor visibility contributes to road traffic crashes varies between countries, between types of road user and types of studies.

Pedestrians

Cyclists / Motorcycles

The lack of visibility is a significant factor in crashes between cyclists and cars. It is important for cyclists to do their part to make sure that they are seen. It is acknowledged by responsible cycling and biking groups that road safety is a dual responsibility. Even though you might be able to find your way in the dark at low speed this does not mean that you are safe - the other road user might not be able to see you! A bike ridden in the dark or even low light must have a red light on the rear and a white light on the front. They can be flashing or steady, but they must be visible for at least 200m.
Suggestions:

Motorists

When driving in South Africa, it is important to consider local conditions. Many informal settlements in South Africa are situated next to highways –thereby increasing the risk of further pedestrian fatalities. Children attending schools in rural communities walk several kilometers next to the roads to and from their schools. It is important for motorists not only to concentrate on their own ability to see – but also on the ability of other motorists and road users to see them!

Also View:

Pedestrian collisions at Night

Pedestrian Visibility and the Campaign #ISEEYOU

Lights –On Campaign

Pedestrian Safety Hints

IMPERIAL I-Pledge: The importance of being visible on the roads

Click here to download information on the requirement of reflective markings on vehicles and the 3MTM ScotchliteTM Diamond GradeTM Conspicuity Sheeting Series 983-71

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