All of us like to keep some privacy for ourselves. Like a two sided coin, all Humans have two sides too. On one side we want to be social and on the other we want to have our own privacy. But there are times when we will need to reveal ourselves from the darkness that surrounds us. This is my story. It was a very dark one wintry and a blistering cold evening. The sun had just gone down and the wind was howling. With snow on the ground and freezing temperatures, the simple act of just crossing the road to the post office just got a lot harder and challenging. The ice beneath the snow was slippery. To avoid a fall, my concentration was focused on the steps that I was taking at that particular moment. The winter coat that I was wearing was white and the snow covering the ground was white too. All of a sudden, a car was speeding along the parking lot heading straight towards me. I froze on the spot and was unable to move. Luckily the driver had seen me at the last moment and had applied the brakes. Later on I was talking to the driver inside the post office. He mentioned to me that he never even saw me until the last second, which is when he had braked. This had in fact saved my life and I am glad that he did.
In the context of the above scenario, we need to stand out from our surroundings at any given point of time, except at times of war when a soldier has to blend in with the surroundings in order to avoid becoming a target himself or herself. Had I worn a dark colored clothing to stand out, the driver could have easily seen me way ahead of time from a distance. Once inside the post office when the driver had personally come in and told me that he was sorry and was glad that he had averted a tragedy. I told him that I am happy too for his last minute decision to brake, otherwise I wouldn’t be here. He also mentioned to me that I should be wearing something reflective on the clothing during winter or summer, no matter what the season. Had he come in any closer I would be off the ground heading for the skies. On a rainy day, our rain coat which is usually dark does not help with visibility either. On the other side of the equation, the driver of a vehicle is bombarded with rain drops, fogging of the windshield, sound of rain drops, windshield wiper, the radio and other distractions on the road. Unless we the pedestrians who are sharing the same road protect ourselves using bright colors, reflectors and flashing lights, we will be the most vulnerable to accidents from motorists. The same holds good for cyclists, motorcyclists and mopeds as well, not only pedestrians and roadside workers. So lets make it a point to protect ourselves and others by taking the first step. Let’s be proactive now rather than be reactive later on, after the fact.
The point here is to avoid future scenarios like this from happening. This is my true story that I am bringing it to your attention. During winter the days are much shorter, the light is poor, it gets dark at 4 pm, attention span and visibility is an all time low and with drivers who are untrained for winter driving (especially on the snow), each of us may be highly vulnerable to possible accidents. Winter may be a time to wear dark clothes which may serve as a dark contrast to the light snow. During summer, it might be good to wear BRIGHT neon colors and reflectors to maximize visibility. Reflectors may also be helpful in all seasons. It would be highly advisable to wear reflectors while walking, cycling , jogging etc, especially in areas of high traffic and in areas where it is hard to see us. In addition to these, flashing LED lights may let others know where we are in case we get into trouble. Millions of people get lost while hiking, running along the roadside and in the wilderness. With the advancements in GPS technology, we should be able to track anyone, anytime and anywhere. It would be highly advisable to have a tracking device on our person before we embark on any journey. This technology may also help us track missing people and bring Alzheimer patients back when they wander off.
Bright NEON colors when combined with reflectors may help us avoid accidents by providing everyone more visibility. This may help us both in a crowded urban setting or in the wilderness. Either way it seems to be the most economical way to make ourselves visible to others by revealing ourselves. This may help us save a life or two. Sometimes it may be our own. So this is the time to show ourselves off to everyone around us by dressing for the occasion. This is not the time to be shy. We are dressing for our very survival and for the survival of others. Mistakes do happen but many are avoidable. So let’s not become a statistic. Let’s take the necessary precautions.