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How to improve safety for drivers and pedestrians during winter

COURTNEY McCLURE, for The Standard

NORTH DURHAM: Daylight Saving Time came to an end on November 7th. Since then, the days are becoming shorter, and the nights are becoming longer. It’s important to learn about how you can keep yourself safe while you’re out on the streets during the late afternoon and evening hours.

A press release by Durham Region stated, there has been an increase of cyclists and high school students out on the streets, in some areas, during darker hours.

So, the region is offering some tips on how residents can keep themselves safe while outside during these darkening hours.

Drivers should pay special attention to crosswalks and intersections as they approach them, while driving throughout Durham Region. Watch for pedestrians crossing.

Reduce speed, especially while driving through towns, villages and school zones where there are likely to be pedestrians.

Turn on your full headlight system to increase visibility, but do this only when necessary. Dim your headlights when oncoming cars pass, so you don’t blind other drivers in the oncoming lane.

Turn your whole head, not just your eyes, to double-check for cyclists and pedestrians, when making left and right turns.

Durham Region is taking some measures into their own hands. For example, Automated Speed Enforcement (ASE) cameras are operational in some school zones and communities throughout the region. ASE cameras rotate between communities and school zones. For more information about ASE, visit durham.ca/ASE.

There are a few ways pedestrians and cyclists can help keep themselves safe as well.

Pedestrians should always cross at an intersection. This means crossing in an area where there is a crosswalk or traffic control device like a stop sign or light. Avoid wearing headphones or using your phone while walking or crossing the street. Before crossing the road, make sure drivers see you. Making eye contact with drivers is the best way to make sure they know you’re there.

Cyclists should obey traffic laws and responsibilities like other road users. Use headlamps and taillights on your bicycle. Make sure you turn these devices on at least 30 minutes before sunset. Always stay visible. This includes wearing bright clothing and reflective gear, while cycling on roads. Stay alert and don’t wear headphones while cycling.

According to Durham Region, Durham Vision Zero is a long-term plan ensuring safe transport throughout the region. You can find more information about Vision Zero at durham.ca/VisionZero.

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