Be a Smart, Safe Pedestrian and Driver

Published on 31 July 2020


As a pedestrian on our rural roads, it is essential to be visible to motorists. Making the decision to take the dog for a walk in the early morning or late afternoon, meeting your bestie for an end of day debrief walk, or going for a run to clear your mind and start your day, are common behaviours that may not be given much thought. As pedestrians, it is essential to consider how the visibility for driver’s at these times in the day may be restricted.

At dawn and dusk, visibility is particularly poor for drivers. Natural light is reduced and it is not necessarily dark enough for vehicles to use their headlights. The road will be darker, with deep shadows and less contrast in colours, creating poor visibility.

To stay safe, pedestrians need to be conscious of the difficulty drivers will have seeing them at these times of the day. Pedestrians should take extra precautions to compensate for the driver’s reduced visibility.

When out and about, walking or running, think like a driver. The tips below will help you be more visible to drivers:

  • If possible, avoid being on the road. Use footpaths and nature strips to stay away from motor vehicles rather than being on the edge of the road.
  • Cross the road with care – be mindful of the driver’s reduced visibility.
  • At pedestrian crossings, do not assume drivers have seen you and will stop. Wait until the vehicle has stopped.
  • Be visible. If you are out walking, jogging, or running, increase your visibility to others by adding some reflective and high visibility gear.
  • Invest in a high visibility dog leash.
  • Walk, jog, or run on the side of the road facing the oncoming traffic.
  • Look out for hazards: Potholes, uneven surfaces, and other trip hazards.

    Just after sunrise and just before sunset, the sun is low in the sky and can shine directly into a driver’s eyes, impacting visibility. This is particularly noticeable when driving east in the morning towards the rising sun and west in the evening towards the setting sun.

    Drivers need to be more aware of hazards such as pedestrians, wildlife, livestock, cyclists, joggers, and runners, as all these hazards can be difficult to see and quite unpredictable.

    To minimise the effect of glare and low visibility, below are a few safety tips for drivers:

  • Wear sunglasses if the sun is directly in your eyes or creating glare. Keep a pair in your car where you can access them easily and safely.
  • Adjust the sun visor to block the sun from shining directly into your eyes.
  • Adjust your driving as low visibility increases reaction time. Reducing speed, and leaving extra space between vehicles, reduces the risk of a collision.
  • Turn on headlights as this will increase your visibility to other drivers and pedestrians.
  • If you can avoid driving at dawn and dusk, do so.
  • Pull over in a safe place or stop for a break if the glare from the sun is making it difficult to see.
  • Keep the windscreen and windscreen wipers clean and in good condition.
  • Be alert to hazards.

Karen Trethowan

Road Safety Officer




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