As we get closer to the winter months, the days get shorter. Whether you are an early morning pavement pounder or you prefer to save your daily jog for the evening, it is important to take extra precautions when running in the dark.
While running during the day is always a safer choice, sometimes our work and family schedules make this impossible. But there are a number of things you can do to maintain your training schedule while also staying safe. Here are some safety tips to follow while running in the dark.
Run against traffic
Always run against the traffic. It is a lot easier to avoid a car you can see coming toward you than one coming from behind. Also, try to stay away from busy streets that have a lot of fast-moving traffic or areas where there is not a sufficient shoulder or sidewalk to run on.
Stay in the light
If possible, try to choose a route that is well-lit so that you are more visible. Not only will drivers be able to see you better, you can spot potential hazards, such as uncovered holes or debris, and avoid injury.
Wear reflective gear and bright colors
When running in the dark, you should always wear bright colors and reflective clothing. You might also consider attaching a flashing LED light to your clothing or running with a flashlight. Cars will be far more likely to see you.
Keep ID on you
Be sure to run with your driver’s license or another kind of identification, such as a bracelet or shoe tag. If you run with a tag, it should not only have your name on it, but your emergency contact information as well.
Leave the playlist at home
When running or walking outside, you should avoid the temptation to listen to music. Your ears are an important part of your defense system. You should always be listening for approaching cars, cyclists, other runners and dogs. By limiting your senses, you compromise your ability to avoid a potentially dangerous situation.
While the above tips can help keep you safe while you are out for an early morning or nighttime run, it is impossible to avoid all accidents. Wearing a flashing headlamp and running against traffic may not be enough to save you from becoming the victim of a distracted or drunk driver. If you are hurt, you may be able to take legal action for the damages you suffer.