Walking is a good exercise. Many walkers find walking a dog both motivating and gratifying. If you walk your dog two or three times a day it becomes a routine. Actually, anything that you do more than once (or even just once) becomes a routine to a dog. This means putting on your walking shoes and heading out the door morning and night.
I am always pleased when I read newspaper articles about walking. This time of the year, it is especially gratifying to read articles that stress safety concerns, especially if you walk after dark. During fall and winter the pleasant after dinner walk becomes rather unsettling.
In case you haven’t noticed, it is dark out there. Visibility is poor. Drivers can’t see you. The street lights are not as bright as they should be, and there are an unbelievable number of people out driving after dark. You probably wonder why they aren’t home having dinner or settling in for the night, I do, but nevertheless they are out there and often driving quite rapidly down quiet residential streets.
Last night, driving home from the gym in the dark, I counted 2 bicyclers, 2 people crossing in the middle of the street, and 8 people walking dogs. Guess what they all had in common? They were all wearing dark clothing. If we didn’t know that the locals were often out there, we might have missed them (or hit them). Age doesn’t have anything to do with it, but many dog walkers are older people. I am afraid for them, even though I admit that I am not always as careful as I should be either. Many of us are guilty of using poor judgment when it comes to our safety when we go out after dark.
Theresa Goffredo (email@example.com) wrote an article for the Herald about the importance of making yourself visible. We all know this, but I think we’ve already established that we don’t do it. The only people I have seen using lights, light reflective materials and reflected tapes are joggers. Good for them.
Whether you are doing a one mile circuit for exercise or just going to be out for a few minutes is immaterial. It only takes a second for a pedestrian accident to happen. What can you do to ensure that your walk will be a safe venture for you and your dog? The article in the Herald focused on dog walking, but the information is prudent whether you are walking with your dog, a human friend, or alone. They key is to be visible.
Before you step outside tonight, enjoy a shopping spree at your local sporting good store. Shop for yourself and for your dog. Light colored clothing, flashing lights and strips of reflective tape at the very least. A pet store will have collars with blinking lights or at least one that will reflect light. Be safe, keep your dog on a short leash and take this walking business seriously. Movement, reflections and dancing bright lights will catch the eye of any driver. It just makes good sense.