If you have been following our previous posts in this series, you now have 9 useful tips and recommendations to help you ‘Be Smart’ and therefore better prepared when you are out running in the dark. To recap on our previous posts, so far we suggested/recommended you should:
1. Carry Some Form ofID with You
2. Always Bring Your Cellphone
3. Pay Attention to Your Surroundings & Trust Your Instincts
4. Watch out for Bikes, Runners and Pedestrians
5. Avoid Extreme Weather Conditions
6. Run a Familiar Route
7. Run with a Friend or Join a Running Group
8. Ditch the Headphones and Music
9. Consider Installing a Tracking App on your Phone
In this post (Part 4 of the series) we will now take a look at some final tips and recommendations that we think are aligned to our ‘Be Smart, Be Seen, Be Safe’ philosophy and fit nicely inside the ‘Be Seen’ part of this philosphy. Specifically this post provides tips and recommendations related to your running tactics and also improving your visibility while out exercising when it is dark..
10. Choose well-lit routes – Run in Well Lit or Populated Areas
It may possibly not be your favorite route to run, but the most well-lit route is often your least risky option. Oncoming motor vehicles notice you better, and you’ll always be able to see the road and avoid likely hazards. Re-evaluate your run route in the event that you’re used to running on trails. Despite the fact that it can be nice and peaceful when running on trails, you set yourself up as a convenient target for someone to attack or accost you. Stay with busier roads and well lit areas. It may be a bit uninspiring, but at least you’re safer.
11. Always Run against Traffic
When you have to run on the road then the appropriate place to run is on the left side of the road, looking toward traffic. By Facing oncoming traffic as you run, not only does this provide motorists with a clear view of what’s ahead of them, but also gives you a clearer view of oncoming automobiles and their headlights in case you need to make any last-minute maneuvers.
If you find vehicle headlights blinding, then consider wearing a cap or visor. If possible, try steering clear of rush hour times—the fewer cars you are required to cope with the better. Ideally it is best to try and stay away from busy roads specifically during rush hour times as the less cars you have to cope with the better.
Roads with no shoulders or sidewalks are also to be avoided wherever possible. Nevertheless if you choose to run on these roads it can be a lot easier to evade and jump out of the way of motor vehicles when you observe them heading towards you.
12. Wear Bright/Reflective Clothing or Wear/Carry Lights
You should always try to be visible, particularly if you are running where there is vehicular traffic. Being visible is also important while running trails at nighttime as many mountain bikers enjoy the trails at night too.
The good news is that virtually all running gear nowadays include reflective patches. You should ensure yours does. If not, give some serious thought to acquiring and running in a reflective vest.
It’s essential to keep in mind that even though you can see a car at a distance that this may not mean the motorist can easily see you. It can often be challenging for drivers to notice runners at nighttime, so don’t make it more difficult for them by wearing dark, non-reflective garments. Make sure to wear vivid colors, preferably with reflective fabric or tape to help you become much more noticeable whenever you run.
Being visible is the first step to running at nighttime safely. Wear bright colored, high-visibility apparel with 360 degrees of retroreflective properties. These types of apparel items reflect light back to its origin (motor vehicle headlights) with very little scattering, permitting you to be observed more visibly and at greater distances in dark or lowlight situations.
Not only can it be difficult for drivers to notice you at nighttime, but it is also often challenging for you to see the road, trail or sidewalk while you run especially when the lighting if poor.
There are numerous small lights that are easy to wear or hold that will light up your path while running which will also help drivers be more able to notice you. No matter if you favor a headlamp, a chest light, or a handheld flashlight, carry something along to illuminate your way.
Headlamps can be good and effective because the beam follows wherever you look. However, some people dislike running with headlamps because of the shadows they can produce. If this is the case for you then consider using a light source at waist level.
Some runners also raise concerns that the shadows resulting from flashlights and headlamps may throw off your depth perception, causing some individuals to trip and stumble. To help avoid this you should practice lifting your feet with every step until it comes naturally.
We hope you have enjoyed and feel you have benefitted from this short series of posts on how to stay safer when running when it is dark? You now have 12 useful tips and recommendations that you can now consider and adopt to help improve your safety when running in low light conditions or when it is dark.
We strongly believe that if you adopt some or all of our ‘Be Smart’ and ‘Be Seen’ recommendations you will definitely move several steps closer to ensuring you can ‘Be Safe’ in the knowledge that you have taken major strides to improve your visibility and safety with motorists when running outdoors.