Learn to befriend the dark: Be seen, be safe!


Although we have gained an extra hour with daylight savings, darkness comes earlier each afternoon until we reach winter solstice on December 21st and begin the slow climb back toward longer days. This is an opportune time to learn to befriend the dark; learn to adjust our eyes in order to see more with less and to consider safety as we do so.

Walking, running, riding (especially when it is raining) in the dark, means higher risk as drivers may not only be fatigued from work or in a hurry to get home, but wet, wintry weather conditions render you less obvious unless you make yourself highly visible from both the front and the back. With the largest demographic now beyond age 55, aging eyesight can also be a contributing factor to diminished night vision.

Darkness, call me brother! ~ Anonymous

As you head for home at the end of the day, please take a moment to 'befriend the dark' and allow your eyes time enough to adjust to the lack of light. For those not travelling in cars or on buses, mitigate risk by the use of a headlamp or flashing light or by wearing a coat, vest, or running shoes with reflective strips. Inexpensive, battery-operated glow wristbands or anklets are also easy to strap on before you head out. Pedestrians take heed that streetlights alone will not adequately illuminate you to drivers who often won’t see you until you have already stepped out into the road. And in light of this, it is worth mentioning an unsettling trend found on ever-increasingly crowded roadways in Victoria where a significant number of drivers seem to speed up for yellow and even red lights rather than brake these days. Therefore, use common sense (don’t depend solely on traffic lights) when it comes to making your move to safely cross the street. And not least of all, remember twilight is also the time when a significant number of wildlife attempt to cross roadways to forage for food and seek habitat. Please be vigilant.

And here’s the bright side… in tandem to an unhurried, more considered way of being-in-the-world, blood pressure and heart rates lower and in effect, while slowing and bringing deliberate awareness in consideration of all other living beings, you are in fact performing radical self-care and restoration at the cellular level which (according to epigenetic research) helps decelerate the aging process! Imagine such rich, life-furthering potential can be found in the dark when we take the time to take care, be aware, and go with ease. The Joint Occupational Health and Safety Committee wish you safe travels this season.