Friday, December 14, 2012

Running Safely in the Dark

Is anyone else finding themselves squeezing in their run right before the sun goes down? The amount of daylight hours will keep diminishing until the Winter Solstice in a week. After that we will slowly have more daylight each day. Running in the daylight is ideal, but can't always happen. If you have to run in the dark or fading light, there are safety precautions you should adhere to.

Here's some advice from
  • Run against traffic. It's easier to avoid traffic if you can see it.
  • Don't wear dark colors at night. White running attire is the easiest to see at night, but orange and yellow are also appropriate. Black, brown, dark blue or green are not recommended.
  • Run behind vehicles at intersections. Even if a car or truck has stopped at a stop sign, there's no guarantee the driver has seen you.
  • Don't wear headphones. Wearing headphones diminishes a runner's ability to hear a car horn, a voice or a potential attacker.
  • Wear a billed cap and clear glasses. The bill of a cap will hit an unseen tree branch or another obstacle before the obstacle hits your head. Clear glasses will protect your eyes from bugs and other unseen obstacles.
  • Vary your routes. A potential attacker can watch for runners' patterns and loom in a particularly dark or isolated area.
  • Run with a partner. There's strength in numbers.
  • Try to make eye contact and acknowledge a driver. The interaction, however brief, could save your life.
A few points I would add:
  • If there is no sidewalk and you must run on the road, ALWAYS run against traffic.
  • If I come to a small intersection, I ALWAYS run behind the vehicle if there is one stopped. At bigger intersections with no stoplight. I just stop, wait, and cautiously cross.
  • I don't run with music, so I don't have to worry about not wearing headphones. It really helps some people, and if you are one of them, I think wearing only one ear bud and keeping your music low would be ok.
  • Varying your routes is a good way to cut down the possibility of an attack and a good way to keep your workouts fresh. I know it's easy to lose yourself in your run, but just because you vary your routes, that is no excuse for not being aware of your surroundings. This is especially true in the dark because there are not as many people around as in the daylight. That being said, attacks can still happen during the light, so ALWAYS be aware of what's going on around you.
  • Knowing there is someone waiting for you when it's 30 degrees out is extra incentive to get your butt out of bed. As long as you are not lazy on the same day...
  • ALWAYS make eye contact with a driver in an intersection.
This is my first time running through the winter. At the Thanksgiving race I ran, I got a reflective vest. I was super excited about that because I don't have a lot of reflective gear so I'm limited in what time of day I can run.

Hope you found this helpful! Stay safe and run hard!

Cavegirl Runner

Do you have any tips you would add?

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