If you’re a runner you know what it’s like to feel invincible. You lace up your sneakers, let go of the day’s worries, and let your feet carry you through the miles. You may find yourself zoning out, focusing only on the sound of your breathing and sneakers pounding the pavement.
As great as it might feel to shut out the world for a while, it’s important to equip yourself properly and always be aware of your surroundings. Take these precautions to ensure every run ends safely:
Observe the Rules of the Road
- Run against traffic so as to view (and react to) any mistake an advancing motorist may make.
- Don’t assume a driver sees you. In fact, imagine that a driver can’t see you.
- At a stop sign or light, wait for the driver to wave you through-then acknowledge with your own wave.
- Allow at least three feet between you and a passing vehicle.
Be a People Person
- Run in well-lit, populated, and familiar areas. Avoid routes that do not have sidewalks or clear pedestrian paths.
- Run with a buddy. If you have to run alone, be sure someone you know is familiar with your running routine.
- Run with proper ID, and carry a cell phone with emergency contacts taped to its back.
Make Yourself Visible
- When running at night, wear reflective gear with flashing LED lights to be easily seen.
- If the running conditions are less than ideal, leave your headphones at home. You might hear danger before you see it.
- Be extra cautious when there is snow on the ground. Tall snowbanks and icy sidewalks may lead you to explore different running routes.
The following diagram depicts some all-too-common scenarios that runners encounter. Always be alert!
1) With the light yellow and the truck slowing to a stop, the runner moves into the crosswalk—not seeing the car blocked by the truck and rushing to beat the light. He should have waited until all vehicles were stopped at the red.
2) The driver begins to turn right on red. As he accelerates, he looks to his left for oncoming cars—but not to his right. The runner must anticipate that the driver is not looking out for him, and move to the sidewalk ASAP.
3) Using her side-and rear-view mirrors to back out of the driveway, the driver fails to see the approaching runner. The runner should slow down and wait until the car backs out, or until the driver finally notices him and waves him past.
Remember- your well-being is something worth going the extra mile to protect!
Runner’s World, Collision Course, December 18, 2009.
AZCentral, Jogging at Night
DIY Controls, Best Protection for Runners, Cyclers & Walkers: A Safety Light and Reflective Gear, March 28, 2014
Active.com, 9 Tips for Your Night Runs