As much as we need to be aware of threats from people or dogs, we also need to be alert to preventing accidents with vehicles when we run. We are much more vulnerable when our mode of transportation is our feet. Recognizing this vulnerability and respecting the threat of cars makes me a safer runner.
Here are a few (of the many) tips for general running safety:
Don’t wear headphones. Stay alert to your surroundings. Don’t be distracted. You need to be able to hear an approaching car, bicycle or footsteps. If you have to wear them, wear only one. I’ve also been known to crank my iPod way up and then tuck the earbuds into my bra strap by my collar bone. I get the music at a reasonable volume but am not distracted from my surroundings. It doesn’t really work for podcasts, but I love it when I need musical encouragement.
Run against traffic. I’m really a stickler at this on the road. This placement helps me always know where traffic is and how I need to respond. I need to always be able to see what is closest to me. Don’t run on the wrong side “just for a little while.” Run against traffic. There are very few instances where you might need to cross the road and run with traffic. If you are running on a road with no shoulder on a hill or blind curve, you may need to briefly run with traffic in order to be seen. These times are few and far between. I hardly ever do this because I don’t run on those type of roads unless I absolutely have to.
Be vigilant with cars and drivers. Don’t trust drivers. Don’t ever take the right-of-way for granted. I’ve been in several situations where I’ve waited through a crosswalk because I knew a driver didn’t see me (when I had the lit walking man sign). You cannot assume that drivers will stop at stop signs. You cannot assume that drivers know you are on the sidewalk. Be vigilant watching for cars backing out of driveways. Don’t run in front of cars turning right that may not look to their left. Use extra-extreme caution crossing major intersections. Don’t get into power struggles with cars. Don’t take the “they have to yield to me!” attitude. You’d be hurt more than they would if they don’t. Remember that drivers are often distracted. Take precautions that you feel you shouldn’t have to. Just pay attention. Please.
Choose a well-lit route. The more visible you are, the better chance that you will be seen. Even if it isn’t the most fun route. Even if it is hillier than you’d like. Lights keep us safe. If you do run in a dark area, try to run in a well-lit group.
Make yourself as visible as possible. If you are running in the dark, wear light-colored clothing, reflective gear, and maybe even lights. Even with all that, don’t ever assume that a car can see you. Don’t let being visible create a false sense of safety.
Have identification. Carry your id or get a roadID. In case of emergency, you need to be easily identified. Put an In Case of Emergency contact into your phone. Don’t want to carry your id? I get it. I’d lose it. Get a piece of sturdy paper to carry with you and make note of the following info:
· Your name.
· Emergency contacts with phone numbers.
· Allergies/medical conditions.
· Contact info for primary care physician
Carry a cell phone. There are safety concerns other than being hit by a car. You may also be injured. Or get caught in a freak storm. Or jumped by a dog. Or lost. Or come up on a man in a ditch and have to call 911. It is always a good idea to have a plan B, a way home other than your feet. And you’ll need a cell phone to easily access that plan.
Any more safety suggestions? Scary close calls that will spur us to action? Leave ‘em in the comments!
Great info about general safety tips. http://www.crime-safety-security.com/
More running safety tips. http://www.crime-safety-security.com/Running-Safety.html
Since I tend to be preferred prey, here are links to hints for dog attacks. http://www.crime-safety-security.com/outdoor-safety-dog-attack.html