Kate Anderson new

Support Local Journalism

Love it or hate it, daylight savings is ending this weekend and will bring the sunrise an hour earlier. That will be good for my oldest son, Hyrum. He has swim team practice at

Sky View pool at 5:30 a.m. every day. And since he doesn’t have a driver’s license yet, this mommy rides along as copilot to practice.

At 5 a.m. In the dark. The deep-dark, super-dark, extra-dark morning. Having an inexperienced driver at the wheel for that extra-dark drive is my lesson in managing panic attacks every day.

So many things in the early morning hours look more foreboding when I’m copiloting for a fifteen-year-old: the mailboxes, the garbage cans, the deer, and the deer, and more deer. But most terrifying is when a pedestrian is walking along the roadside. Of all the things I would hate to leap out in front of my teenage driver, a person is the last thing I would want to see.

Our part of North Logan is mixed residential and agricultural, so sidewalks and bike lanes are spotty at best. Many times, vehicles and pedestrians must share the road.

As the mom of the new driver, I just want to say thank you to the pedestrians and cyclists who bother to wear high visibility clothing. I know it’s for your safety, but it’s also for my mental health and my son’s safety. He doesn’t want to get in an accident with anything – mailbox or mammal.

There’s one jogger in particular that we see every morning along our route. They have the best reflective vest ever. Even in the pitch black, we can see that thing half a mile away! It’s nice to be able to point out the wiggly reflective tape moving along the road and remind my son, “You need to give them at least 3 feet of space when you pass.”

I’m so glad we can see you.

There’s another fellow who walks his dog along the route. The dog has a little light on his collar. The owner does too, sometimes. And he is always in a light colored jacket.

Huzzah! You’re safe from my teenage driver!

Yesterday a myriad of cyclists were on the road to Green Canyon High School wearing high visibility pinks and oranges. Our beloved former police chief, Kim Hawkes, was one of them. He sported a full-sleeve neon yellow jacket and a helmet with reflective tape.

That’s smart thinking, people.

For anyone on the streets in the dark near sunrise or sunset, light clothing and external lights help drivers see you coming. For cyclists out before dawn or after dusk, lights are required.

In Utah, the cycling law states, “You are required to have a white headlight, red taillight or reflector, and side reflectors, all visible for at least 500 feet any time you ride earlier than a half hour before sunrise, later than a half hour after sunset, or whenever it is otherwise difficult to make out vehicles 1000 feet away.”

Because lights help so much with visibility, it’s a smart idea for anyone walking or jogging near dusk to have a light along, just in case. My gallant husband, Howard, took three of our kids to the park yesterday along with our two dogs. Though it’s a short walk, he shared with me how many headlights he had in the group.

Each child had a headlamp. The teenager wore hers correctly and shined it down on the squirmy dogs reflective collars. The 10-year-old had his light hanging around his neck and fiddled with the various light colors and stages all the way. The six-year-old intermittently swung, threw, dropped and retrieved his light. Howard felt badly for the confusion of any cars that might see that rag-tag group of lights heading down the road. “But at least they knew someone was there,” he said.

That’s the idea. High visibility clothing and lighting help drivers know other road users are present. That enables drivers to practice their best driving and safety habits. With winter coming on, traffic picking up, and college and high school students driving in dark hours, pedestrians lighting up before going out is a sensible precaution.

One more thought occurred to me on the way home from the gym this morning when the sun was still asleep. A young lady walking to the bus stop crossed the street in front of me on the crosswalk. Though she was in the right place, her dark skirt and gray sweater made her extremely hard to see. She hadn’t hit the crosswalk light, which is available to warn drivers of pedestrians. And she was looking down at her phone.

No, I didn’t hit her or even come close. But it startled me to think that I might have. Or if my son had been driving, he might have.

Though she was following the law, she might have made some choices that would help drivers see her. Crossing at the crosswalk is a must, as traffic looks for pedestrians there. Using the lights or flags available at a cross walk is wise. Looking at traffic and paying close attention is also essential.

Let’s not let the shift in daylight take us by surprise. As pedestrians and cyclists sharing the road with cars, it’s a good idea to prepare early by making sure safety lights are fully powered and working well. Pairing those lights with high visibility clothing is great, too. There are small lights and compact vest styles that can fit easily in a handbag, purse, or workout bag for emergencies.

This mom/copilot appreciates the good efforts she has already seen. And my son appreciates that your lights and high-viz jackets keep my panic attacks at a minimum.

If only we could get some reflective tape on all those deer.

Kate E Anderson is a mother of five living in North Logan. She can be reached at katecole9@yahoo.com.

Please be aware that Cache Valley Publishing does not endorse, and is not responsible for alleged employment offers in the comments.

Recommended for you