Orange clothing keeps school children safe

As winter sets in, the accident toll for school children increases. Dark mornings and evenings make roads even more dangerous - especially when combined with the typical dismal weather conditions. With winter's reduced visibility, drivers may only see cyclists and pedestrians at the very last moment, when there is little time to react and avoid an accident.

The government's reticence to keep British Summer Time in place all year long is causing deaths and hundreds of injuries to youngsters travelling to and from school in dark and murky conditions.

Make you and your family stand out

However careful you are, whether walking or driving, you simply cannot rely on others to be equally safety-conscious. Pedestrians and cyclists need to take responsibility for their road safety and make themselves as visible and obvious as possible in poor light. So it's up to you to make you and your family stand out from winter's murk. You should support the campaign to get UK schools adopt a new, brilliant fluorescent orange 'uniform' for autumn and winter.

Traditional school uniforms tend to be dark colours, such as navy blue, grey or bottle green, which are difficult to make out in the dark. Similarly as temperatures drop, winter coats also tend to be dark colours, which can make pedestrians even more difficult to see in dim conditions - especially if it happens to be foggy or raining too!

It costs little to be safe

Bright orange tabards or over-vests are inexpensive and make a real difference to visibility that could truly save lives. They are light and easy to fold up and can be stashed in a pocket or school bag. Where it's not possible to wear a tabard, reflective armbands and shoulder belts should be worn to provide some increased visibility. These can be easily picked up by drivers' headlights in the dark, making pedestrians and cyclists visible from a much greater distance and allowing drivers much more awareness.

We need to make sure children wear the reflective clothing and accessories, of course, so parents need to check in the morning and teachers at end of school. Or if school staff are stretched, most schools already have a prefect system in place. It would be an ideal task for older prefects to take charge and monitor the younger children to enforce such safety rules.

Keeping British Summer Time throughout the year

As long as the clocks go back each October and go forward when the days get naturally longer, road safety will continue to be compromised. Making British Summer Time a year-long constant is a simple and entirely logical way of keeping days as bright as possible when children are travelling to and from school, thereby saving lives and reducing injuries.

If we want to see safer roads in autumn and winter then we should all take every opportunity to demand that British Summer Time runs all year round and that dark winter roads become a thing of the past for school children.

David Williams was awarded the MBE in 1998 for services to Road Safety. He is Chief Executive of GEM Motoring Assist, who provide car breakdown cover and policies for car and caravan breakdown.