Here’s another tip for y’all: Be Visible. May sound basic, but I see a lot of bike commuters that blend with parked cars and the road. Since mornings tend to be cool in So. Cal, I ride with a Hi-Viz jacket or a Hi-Viz Vest.
If you are worrying that your panniers are too dull, the answer is simple, attach a blinky to it.
I’ve also read that people use those reflective triangles that Bike Tourers use.
Whatever works for you, being as visible as possible is the best way to get home safely.