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Why should pedestrians use reflectors?

When you have to walk home from school or a job, want to go for a run or bike at night or in the evening or early morning hours, it's important to make yourself as visible as possible. By becoming more visible, you reduce your risk of being involved in an accident. If you are, you can show that you took the precautions you needed to make yourself seen.

Around 43 percent of all pedestrian accidents related to traffic happen between 4 and 6 p.m. This is when the sun is setting, making it harder to see pedestrians. The light from the sun might be in a bad position, making it harder for the driver to see, or it may be dusk, when people aren't as visible.

Reflectors literally reflect the light from a car's beams or from other light sources. They help catch the attention of drivers, so they can see you on or near the roads. Reflectors work up to 500 feet away from the light source in most cases.

Another option is a glow-in-the-dark material. When the lighting gets dim enough, the clothing material glows green. These items are only visible in the darkest environments, but they're good in the woods or if you're walking in rural areas in Portland.

Using a flashlight or headlight on your bicycle is a possibility, too. A headlight is more likely to catch the attention of passing vehicles and make you more visible. Combine these three options for the best visibility in any lighting condition.

Source: The Reflectory, "Reflector Education," accessed Sep. 27, 2016

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