The content originally appeared on: The Anguillian Newspaper

As we begin the new year, it is a good time to examine some issues with respect to the use of our public roads at night.

When evening twilight falls over Anguilla, we encounter situations of poor visibility on areas of our roadways. This, in itself, is sometimes observed as a welcome relief from the blinding glare of the day’s warm sunshine. The problem arises when, as we transition from the calm of the evening glow to the darkness of early night, visibility for motorists and pedestrians is greatly diminished.

During this period of transition, many drivers continue to operate their motor vehicles on the public roads without turning on the vehicle headlights. This practice, whether through willful neglect or temporary lapse in judgment, is dangerous and has often impacted avoidable night-time road accidents.
There have also been countless observations of instances where persons operate motorcycles and bicycles – that have no built-in headlights – on poorly lit stretches of road at night. Although these modes of transportation are much smaller than the cars, buses and trucks on the roadways, they also pose a threat to motorists at night.

An issue of particular concern is how pedestrians use the roads at night. Oftentimes, persons can be observed walking along the side of the road with their backs toward oncoming vehicular traffic. Sometimes these pedestrians are wearing dark or non-reflective clothing, making it difficult for motorists to see them. This practice poses a threat to motorists as well as pedestrians.

Another observation is in regard to the actual vehicles that are in operation on Anguilla’s roadways. Most of the vehicles on Anguilla were not intended to be driven on the left-hand side of the road. This can be noted when motorists use the high beams – the headlights shine directly into the frontal view of the oncoming driver rather than on to the side of the road. Fortunately, most headlights can be adjusted for the spotlight to focus on the left side of the road for better visibility by that vehicle’s driver and less of an impediment to the driver of an oncoming vehicle.

As we continue to use the roadways conscientiously, please, let us remain mindful of night-time hazards to road safety for motorists and pedestrians, as one person’s action or inaction can have irreversible or long-lasting impacts on ourselves and others. And of course, it is always important to obey the speed limit and traffic laws of Anguilla.