Buddy’s Recommended Road safety tips, gadgets & apparel

Whether you jog, walk, cycle or run, making sure that you are visible on our roads is vital. We underline some smart ways to ensure that you are doing the best you can to ensure that you are not hurt while out and about.

Here are some smart ideas to help you keep safe on the road:


 Sadly, pedestrians are hurt or killed on South African roads daily. It is often thought that they are hit on busy highways and intersections, but this is certainly not always the case.

Stay constantly vigilant, even when the road seems quiet.

Although as a pedestrian you should cross at places created for safe road use, such as a zebra crossing and intersection, drivers may not be aware of your presence.

 It is always good to anticipate the worst-case scenario, such as a driver running a red light. This will mean taking an extra look around before stepping into the road, even if the light turns green or a walk signal is indicated.

A car, taxi or truck can act as a visual screen for other oncoming traffic. Look past viewable vehicles or wait for them to move so that you have a better line of sight.

Predict whether a driver has enough time to stop for you or if it has a safe approaching distance. If not, allow the vehicle to pass before leaving the curb.

When there is a walkway close to a driveway, or if you are crossing between parked cars or in a parking lot; a driver may back up without looking or may not be watching out for pedestrians. This is especially problematic because pedestrians tend to look for moving vehicles but not ones that are parked ready to move. Smaller children may be completely out of view for reversing drivers. Driveways and parking lots are particularly hazardous. Reversing quieter vehicles, such as hybrid cars, or doing so in noisier environments can also catch a pedestrian by surprise, since the typical engine noise may not be audible.

To avoid this, try and pick routes that don’t require you to move between still-standing cars. Be on the lookout for drivers climbing into their cars to start them up as well as for brake and indicator lights.

Notice large parked vehicles that may be blocking smaller ones from view.

Remember : if you can’t see them they cannot see you.

Drivers regularly report that they did not see the pedestrian. This could be because of low light or poor weather conditions causing poor visibility or because the driver was distracted. Whatever the cause, it is worth the extra effort to make sure that you are visible.

If possible, make eye contact with the approaching driver and nod or wave if appropriate. Dress to be visible, such as wearing light, bright clothing with retro-reflective strips on satchels and other items. Carry a torch when walking at twilight or after dark.

Walk on the side of the road opposite approaching vehicle to afford yourself the opportunity to identify a potential risk and move out of harm’s way.

Important: make sure you are seen before you enter the road, gauge the reaction of the motorists (is he/she reducing speed, taking a wider berth etc.) which should be the best indication of whether you have been seen or not.


Many areas have now built dedicated bike lanes to ensure cyclist safety. If you see a bike lane be sure to use it. The more that they are used, the more likely municipalities will be open to designing them into their road infrastructure plans.

Head injuries are the leading cause of fatal bike accidents. Research shows that wearing a helmet can reduce your risk by a whopping 70%! The simple act of wearing a helmet can prevent many unintentional cyclist deaths.

Taking control of your road safety also extends to avoiding malfunctions of your bike equipment. Although many accidents are caused by distracted drivers or an unexpected bump in the road, equipment that has malfunctioned contributes to a significant number of crashes. Before you head out, a thorough check of your bike, helmet and gear can reduce your risk.

This means checking that your tyres are inflated and that your reflectors and lights are working. Very importantly, have a look at your chains, gears and brakes, too.

 As with pedestrians, visibility plays an integral role. Make sure that you have the best chance of being seen, by wearing light, bright and reflective clothing and gear.

Lights for both the front and rear of your bike are essential. They are small and easy to mount.

Some have a variety of settings, such as a dimmer light, for low battery usage and in clearer conditions, versus a brighter or flashing light if you need to be very visible.

Technology has advanced such that the light can have radar capabilities and alert you of oncoming traffic as you ride.

The Garmin Varia light is highly recommended for all cyclists, with a host of tech features built in to help keep you a whole lot safer on the road.

Know your bike hand signals and use them. Children should practice them, even where there is no traffic so that it becomes a matter of habit.

Clear, confident bike hand signals provide a fair warning to drivers, cyclists and other road users and will go a long way in reducing the frustration of not knowing what the intention of a cyclist is.

Ride with the flow of traffic (in the same direction).

It also makes sense to pack away your electronics and not look at gadgets while cycling. Regularly monitoring your progress or your route while moving can be a distraction that could result in an accident. Keep your eyes on the road and both your hands on the bike at all times.

If you are of the mindset that as a cyclist, you should treat traffic as if you were driving a car, the likelihood of you weaving between vehicles, ignoring traffic signals or cutting across multiple lanes at once is greatly reduced.

If riding alongside larger vehicles, sidewalks might seem like a safe alternative. However, this could be dangerous for a few reasons. Sidewalks are meant for pedestrians and you could crash into someone or lose control, especially as the pavement could be more uneven than the asphalt on the road. Drivers also do not expect cyclists to enter the road from a sidewalk.


The exact opposite applies to runners versus cyclists and cars when we are talking about the direction of the route you should take. Runners should face oncoming traffic.

Over and above this, they should stay on the sidewalk or the shoulder of the road.

Always yield to vehicles at intersections and don’t assume that they will stop for you. Obey all traffic rules and signals.

 It is important to stay alert while you are out for a jog. This could mean not wearing headphones or earbuds or anything that could make you less aware of your surroundings.

 Light, bright or reflective clothing and gear will make sure that you are visible to other road users.

Runners should carry a few essential emergency items such as a form of identification, a cell phone and a whistle to blow to attract attention. It is always better to run with a friend.

 If you have a medical condition or allergy, an ICE (In Case of Emergency) bracelet with contact details of people to call should you have an emergency, can be a lifesaver.

Some essential equipment for pedestrians, cyclists and runners:

A handful of affordable items can make a significant difference in road safety for pedestrians, cyclists and runners.

Although they may not seem essential at the time of purchase, if you run into difficulties, they could save your life, make things easier for anyone trying to assist and take much unnecessary stress out of an already stressful experience.

 An ICE ID (ICE stands for In Case of Emergency) is a medical bracelet or neck chain that has any medical condition or allergy engraved on it. Medical staff such as paramedics or first-aiders are trained to look for these bracelets or neck chains. If you are diabetic, are allergic to certain medications or have a heart condition, for instance, they will ensure that you get the right treatment without placing you at risk. Moreover, if you engrave the contact details of people to call, first responders can call them and have them arrange things for you, even if you are concussed or too badly injured to call them yourself.

RAF buddy has had a personalized ICE ID PRO made especially for you! You qualify for a 15% discount when ordering a RAF Buddy ICE ID online.

Reflective clothing is readily available for purchase from hardware stores and workwear suppliers. If your region experiences regular rainfall, you may want to invest in a raincoat that has reflective strips already designed into it. Otherwise, a small light reflective vest can be folded and kept in a small pocket and hardly costs anything.

Some places even offer a service of sewing reflective strips onto your items for you.

So, while safety clothing or devices will cost you money you may not want to spend right now, consider the costs of not investing in your safety correctly. 

Stay tuned for our next blog that covers this very topic.