Our guide to the best gadgets and simple safety gifts that will keep harm at bay on dark nights.

It’s the time of year when thoughts turn to keeping warm, snowy days and frosty windscreens. But chilly weather is just part of winter’s arsenal. In fact, a bigger risk comes under the cover of dark nights and dismal mornings.

The walk or cycle to work or school, and the healthy evening jog are now shrouded in darkness. And suddenly that stroll home from the cinema, or lonely walk back from a night out with friends is a little more tense.

According to the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (Rospa) the darker days certainly place us at greater risk of harm on the roads. Last year pedestrian deaths rose from 27 in September to 42 in October, 45 in November and 58 in December. But while dressing head to toe in high-vis or avoiding going out completely might be effective, thankfully there are other options. Heading out in the dark? Here’s how to stay safe.

Runners and cyclists: Leave the all-black training kit and opt for a bright hi-vis top with reflective flashes or pop on a fluorescent bib. Stick to well-lit routes and be aware that drivers might not see you. Invest in a good head torch to light your way and help you be seen.

Walking the dog: Dress Rover in a cosy jacket with hi-vis flashes so he can be seen. Dog collars and leads with little lights are a good idea. Make sure you’re seen too. No need to carry an extra torch if you opt for a phone case which cleverly boosts the light on your iPhone so you can see where you are – and what you’re stepping in..

Going out: Dark nights shouldn’t stop you socialising; carry a personal alarm that’s easy to reach – one that clips on to a bag or inside a pocket is ideal – and simple to use. You can even find a personal alarm that looks like a pretty handbag charm but will blast an alarm that will disorientate attackers and let passers by know you need help.

Don’t phone and text as you walk: Keep that costly gadget out of sight, and keep your phone separate from your purse and keys. Better still, keep valuables out of sight. Wrap up in a warm winter scarf that features a hidden zip pocket so you can stash away your purse and mobile.

Play time: The outdoors is good for children. Keep them safe in jackets with reflective strips, hi-vis vests and shoes with soles that flash when they walk. Kids love torches too, and choose bags and backpacks with bright flashes. Make it fun by looking for jackets and hi-vis vests with quirky designs.

There are dozens of clever products and safety gifts to light the way, help you be seen and just make it easier to get around in winter. Even better, they make ideal Christmas gifts and stocking fillers.