The Estonians know a little secret for staying safe and visible during dark winter days. It's small, simple, and inspired by a cat's eyes. Find out why you should be sporting a reflector whenever you are in Estonia.
Darkness inspired invention
Estonia is located quite north in the world; Tallinn sits at the same latitude as Stockholm, Oslo, and Juneau, Alaska. In the winter, the days are short - a mere six hours on the Winter Solstice in December. The early sunsets, however, do not stop people from going about their business and enjoying recreation. Tourists as well can enjoy the special things the dark nights have to offer, such as the possibility to glimpse the Aurora Borealis.
When venturing out in the dark in Estonia, take a cue from the locals and wear a reflector. It is a small piece of plastic or fabric that makes pedestrians visible to oncoming traffic. The concept was first invented in 1934 by British road worker Percy Shaw, who was inspired by the reflective qualities of cats' eyes. Virtually all children and over two-thirds of adults wear reflectors, largely due to a 2011 law that requires their use in darkness and conditions of poor visibility.