Vermont is a unique place, it seems to be one of the havens for growing older and enjoying the “golden years,” however as we age it can certainly change our view on things. We can get to a point where we start to think about our safety differently. Living in an aging state and aging body doesn’t mean we can’t live our lives but can mean thinking about our safety in new ways. It’s time we shine a light on being safe at night!

Our bodies undergo various changes that can affect our ability to drive safely, especially at night. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, older drivers are more likely to experience difficulties with vision, reaction time, and overall mobility, making nighttime driving particularly challenging for them. In Vermont, where the winter nights are long and dark, starting in the midafternoon and lingering until the later morning, it’s crucial for older adults to take extra precautions when driving in the dark. Same goes for being outside walking dogs, getting the mail or even just being out in the dark. To address this issue and promote the safety of our beloved older community members, we are hosting the “Be Bright At Night” event on January 31st at Noon at The Wellness Center in partnership with the Vermont Department of Health.

Older Vermonters are an integral and cherished part of our community. It’s only fitting that we ensure their safety on the road and streets as they continue to shine brightly in their golden years. The “Be Bright At Night” event aims to raise awareness about the dangers of nighttime driving and getting around for older adults and provide them with practical tips and resources to stay safe behind the wheel and on the streets.

If you are aging, don’t count yourself out! One of the main reasons why older adults face increased risks while driving at night is age-related changes in vision. As we grow older, our eyes undergo changes such as reduced pupil size, decreased peripheral vision, and difficulty adapting to sudden changes in light levels. These changes can start anytime but usually around 40 we start to see differently, literally! These factors can make it harder for older drivers to see clearly in low-light conditions, increasing the likelihood of accidents. Older adults may also experience challenges with depth perception and distinguishing colors at night, which are essential for safe driving. Slower reaction times and decreased ability to recover from glare or bright headlights further compound the risks associated with nighttime driving for this demographic.

Walking on the streets or just going to the curb for mail may have seemed harmless in the past, until you hear of someone getting hit or falling. Being bright at night isn’t just about you seeing others coming but them seeing you too! From those walking their dogs and wanting to keep them away from you and perhaps even keeping you bright in the event of a fall so someone sees you quickly, being bright at night is a collaborative effort that matters. Walking from your car to the store door isn’t safe if the lights are out in the parking lot on a slippery night, a simple reflective band cand help you be seen and avoid on coming traffic.

The “Be Bright At Night” Safety After Dark, FREE event will offer educational sessions on how older Vermonters can enhance their visibility being out at night and in the dark. From understanding the importance of properly functioning headlights and taillights to learning about reflective clothing and accessories that can improve visibility during evening walks or bike rides, attendees will gain valuable insights into staying safe after dark.

We encourage all older Vermonters to join us at The Wellness Center on January 31st at Noon for this important and free event. Let’s come together as a community to support our golden age population and equip them with the knowledge and tools they need to shine as our safest stars on the road and around the community! Join us in keeping safe and helping our most treasured community members to be bright at night!


Mary Hoadley

Director of The Wellness Center