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 while visiting Estonia.
Staying visible in the dark
Estonia is located pretty far north; Tallinn sits at the same latitude as Stockholm, Oslo, and Juneau, Alaska. The days are short in the winter — 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 can enjoy the special things Estonia's dark nights have to offer, such as the opportunity to glimpse the Northern Lights.
When venturing out in the dark in Estonia, take a cue from the locals and wear a reflector. This small piece of plastic or fabric makes pedestrians visible to oncoming traffic. The concept was first invented in 1934 by British road worker Percy Shaw, 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 requiring their use in darkness and conditions of poor visibility.