Use these tips to keep safe when you’re out on the roads.
Written by: Linzay Logan
When I was training for my last race I went running on a back road of east San Diego with a friend. We were half way through our ten-mile loop when a truck driving toward us blew out a tire. The hubcap shot like a bullet across the street and the truck swerved into the bike lane. We immediately jumped into the dirt on the side to take cover from what we later joked the “thee wheeled circus.” Luckily the truck was 100 feet out in front of us rather than 10 feet because the outcome could have been a lot different.
The truth is that running can be a dangerous sport. It does keep us fit, sane and healthy, and taking a run outdoors is even better for vitamin d levels and our lungs, but it does have its downfalls. You are exposed to the elements, bad people, bad drivers and the unexpected.
Use these tips to be the safest runner you can be. Some of them may seem obvious but it can only take one blasé second for an accident to happen. The number one overall thing to remember as a runner is to stay alert and aware of your surroundings.
- Don’t go with the flow. Run in the opposite direction of traffic.
- Carry cash. Stick money or a credit card into your pocket or shoe. You might need a Gatorade or cab fare.
- Drivers think they own the road. Assume every driver is talking on their phone while drinking steaming hot coffee and tuning the radio. Stay as clear of cars as you can. Run on a sidewalk or bike path whenever possible.
- Say hey before you take off. Let someone know where you are going and what time you plan on returning.
- Be a lit-up disco ball in the middle of a dark room. If you’re running in the dark wear a headlamp, carry a flashlight and wear reflective clothing.
- Not everyone has the keenest sense of direction. Have an idea of your route before you set out. There is nothing worse than getting eight miles out from your car when it’s starting to get dark and you realize you have no idea how to get back. At that point hopefully you have some phone numbers memorized.
- Don’t be a John Smith or Jane Doe. Carry or wear an id whenever you run alone. Road ID’s are great. They’re inexpensive bracelets and shoe tags that you can engrave with emergency phone numbers and medical information.
- Don’t be a sun goddess. Even if you think you are the goddess of the sun, you should still wear sunscreen and protective clothing.
- Don’t fear the crowds. Run in populated areas. If there are other runners around there is good chance that the area is safe and a good place to run.
- Listen up. If you run wearing headphones, turn down the music so that you can still hear what is going on around you or only wear your headphones in one ear.
- Power in numbers. Run with a friend or Fido. If you don’t have runner friends or a dog ask a friend to bike along you while you run.
- Switch up your run. Change up your running route and time you run every so often. Getting acquainted with the same route over and over again make you susceptible to letting your guard down and lets assailants know when and were you are.
- Look both ways before you cross the street. Crossing streets, especially those regulated by stop signs are the worst for runners. Drivers will pull out in front of the stop sign looking for cars, but often will look right beyond runners. Unless you make eye contact with the driver assume they haven’t seen you and stay on the curb.