PPA: Wearing a reflector saves lives in winter

Reflecfors in Tallinn's Falgi Park.
Reflecfors in Tallinn's Falgi Park. Source: ERR / Helen Wright

The Police and Border Guard Board (PPA) are reminding pedestrians to wear reflectors now that evenings are getting darker and visibility is reduced for drivers. Wearing a reflector (helkur) is mandatory in Estonia during winter.

PPA law enforcement officer Sirle Loigo said wearing a reflector saves lives, but it must be worn correctly. It can be attached to a coat, bag or pocket and must be visible to drivers.

"A reflector is a cheap but very effective way to make yourself visible and drivers are very grateful if they notice a pedestrian walking on the road from far away. It is safest to walk around in the dark like a bright Christmas tree, then you are sure to be visible to other road users," said Loigo.

Wearing brightly colored or reflective clothes can also help increase visibility in the dark, the PPA said.

During tests, the police found that a pedestrian wearing light colored clothing is visible to a driver from up to 65 meters away, but a pedestrian in dark clothes can barely be seen from 30 meters away. This is not dramatically different at illuminated crossing points. A reflector could be seen the best and from over 140 meters.

A study by the police found that a reflector could be seen by drivers over 140 meters away. Dark clothing could barely be seen from 30 meters away. Source: PPA

It is recommended to wear a reflector at the approximate height of car's lights – 50–80 cm from the ground and it must be seen from all sides.

It is important that the hanging reflector is visible from under the edge of a jacket or coat and is visible from as many sides as possible. It is also worth using a flashlight or telephone as an additional light source to make yourself visible to drivers.

Reflectors are sold in many shops and supermarkets.

Recently Tallinn's City Center and North Tallinn districts held events raising awareness about wearing reflectors. In the City Center free reflectors were left in several places for people to take and in North Tallinn councillors handed them out to school children.

Pedestrians in light and dark colored clothing at road crossings. Source: PPA


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Editor: Helen Wright

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