Running should feel relaxing. But it can be tough to decompress if you’re dodging traffic, and stressing about an encounter with a stranger or a stray animal. Here are some steps to help you feel and be safer when you’re on the road.
Never leave home without letting a family member or friend know where you plan to run and how long you plan to be out. There are some Smartphone apps which allow you to send your precise location, or allow other people to follow you along your routes. or leave a note about where you plan to go and how long you plan to be out.
Run with proper identification, which includes your name, and the name and number of emergency contact. You might also carry a cell phone with emergency contacts taped to its back.
It’s easier to see, and react to, oncoming vehicles. And cars will see you more clearly too.
Even when you’re facing traffic, always act as if approaching drivers, cyclists, or other runners can’t see you. At an intersection, be sure to exchange a friendly wave and a smile with the driver or cyclist to ensure that you have acknowledged one another. Be especially careful of entrances to parking lots, bars, restaurants, and offices. If you are approaching someone from behind, be sure to alert them that you’re approaching and about to pass them. You might say “on your left,” or “good morning.”
Wear high-visibility, reflective, brightly colored clothing in all conditions. And use a headlamp or handheld light so you can see where you're going, and drivers can see you. The light should have a bright LED bulb.
Avoid wearing headphones—you need to be able to hear approaching vehicles. If you do use headphones, run with the volume low and just one earbud in.
At a stop sign or light, wait for the driver to wave you through—then acknowledge with your own polite wave. That acknowledgement will make the driver feel more inclined to do it again for the next runner. Use hand signals (as you would on a bicycle) to show which way you plan to turn.
Run with others when you are exploring new routes, and be sure that one of you has a phone in case you get lost, or need to contact someone in case of emergency.