Running is a popular way for millions of Americans to remain physically fit. In 2017, nearly 60 million Americans jogged or ran, and more than 110 million people walked for fitness. Many people begin to run to lose weight. Others train to run in 5-kilometer races, half-marathons, or full-marathons. No matter why you might choose to run, protecting your safety is important.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 6,283 pedestrians were killed in 2018. While not all of the pedestrians who were killed were runners, other types of pedestrians face the same risks that are faced by runners. Knowing the dangers can help you to plan your run to remain safe. Here are five tips to keep in mind when you plan to run.
1. Make sure that you dress properly.
When you run, you should make sure that you dress properly. Dressing properly for running involves more than simply wearing comfortable clothes that fit the weather conditions. The clothing that you choose should also increase your visibility to others, including motorists. Since you are much smaller than cars, trucks, or SUVs, it is harder for motorists to see you. If you wear dark clothing, it also makes it more difficult for other joggers, runners, and pedestrians to see you.
If you jog during the day, choose clothing that is bright and visible. Choosing neon clothes for your run can help you to stand out from the background and increase the chances that others will see you. If you run at night, you should choose reflective clothing and carry a flashlight. However, it is best to avoid running at night because your risk of being involved in an accident is much greater. Make sure that the treads of your shoes are in good condition to avoid slipping and falling on slick surfaces.
2. Run against the flow of traffic.
You should always run on the sidewalks instead of on the road. Motorists travel at high speeds, and if you are struck by a car, truck, SUV, or another motor vehicle, you can be seriously injured or killed. In some cases, however, a route might only have a shoulder without a sidewalk. If you plan to run along the shoulder of a road, you should run against the flow of traffic. This allows you to see oncoming vehicles and to get out of the way if a vehicle starts entering the shoulder.
Running against the flow of traffic on the shoulder of the road can also let oncoming motorists see you more easily. Running against traffic also lets motorists see you far enough in advance so that they can avoid hitting you. This is especially true on roads with curves.
If you run on multi-use trails or sidewalks, you should run to the right of the lane or sidewalk. If you want to pass a pedestrian or jogger, move to their left to get around them. This can help you to avoid colliding with others during your run.
3. Remain vigilant and aware of your surroundings.
When you run, you will be surrounded by vehicles coming from multiple directions. You must be vigilant and remain aware of the locations of vehicles around you at all times. Make sure to watch for vehicles backing out of driveways or entering parking lots. Sidewalks have breaks for driveways and entryways to make room for vehicles. Make sure to watch for these breaks so that you don’t get hit by a car or trip and fall when you step off the sidewalk into the break area.
According to a leading personal injury attorney, Steven Sweat, “the best advice I can give to avoid accidents while running or jogging is to remain aware of your surroundings at all times.” Remaining vigilant and aware also means that you should avoid distractions. You should avoid checking your phone for text messages while you run. You also should make calls or talk on your phone. While many people enjoy listening to music on their headphones while they run, you should also avoid doing this.
Listening to music through headphones or earbuds prevents you from hearing what is happening around you. If you can’t hear what is going on, you may not have enough time to react and avoid danger. If you look at your phone, your eyes will be off the road and the sidewalk. This can cause you to trip and fall because of uneven pavement. Remaining vigilant while you run can also help you to avoid dangers from other people. Watch others you encounter and be prepared to act if you sense something is not right.
4. Follow all of the traffic laws.
When you run, you need to follow the traffic laws. Doing so can help to keep you safe and protect the safety of others. Do not impede other runners or joggers. Stay out of the way of vehicles. When you reach an intersection, look both ways before you cross it. If there is a crosswalk, use it. If there is not, only cross after you have checked for vehicles coming from both directions as well as vehicles that may be turning in your path.
Follow the pedestrian crossing signals. If you do not want to break your jogging rhythm while you wait to safely cross the road, jog in place until you can. Never run across the road at a middle section between intersections. Instead, simply run to the next intersection and safely cross there.
5. Plan your route with safety in mind.
Before you run, drive the route you are considering first. Check for areas with sidewalks and notice the traffic patterns. You should try to find a route with lower traffic and that has a sidewalk. Look for even running surfaces and areas with fewer joggers. A good route should also provide plenty of trees for shade. If you can, find a jogging trail for your run. This can help to keep you safe from motor vehicles. If you pre-plan your route, you can reduce the chance that you will be injured in an accident.
Running is a great way for you to become physically fit or to maintain your health. It also is a good activity for reducing stress. No matter why you might choose to run, make sure that you do so with your safety in mind. If you follow these tips every time you run, you can enjoy all of the benefits of running while minimizing your risk of injuries.