Dang it! It’s that time of year again – fall back on time! We begin our march towards the shortest day of the year, the beginning of the winter solstice; which is December 21 this year. That means that many of our runs will occur in the dark periods of the day. As you might have guessed, most pedestrian accidents occur in the dark. With some safety adjustments and some small reflective additions to make yourself seen in the dark – we can run as safely as possible and enjoy the winter season. The rules of the road still apply. Drivers are still crazy! Now they just can’t see you as well. Run against traffic if possible – and keep your head on a swivel. We recommend you just lose the music on these dark runs, especially if you are alone. It’s tough to do, but the right thing to do for your overall safety. We posted a general women’s safety tip sheet recently here: http://runhers.com/2012/10/designing-a-safer-woman/ – please read this and share with friends. You might save someone’s life by getting them to think a little more about their own personal safety.
Along with all those great tips here are more for night running or walking:
- Have a plan – just think about where you are planning to run and what hazards may be out there. Think safety and always have your phone in case you need immediate help. Anytime you question your personal safety – make that emergency call. Be sure and carry some form of ID as well.
- Run in well lighted areas if possible. Before leaving check the weather for road or path conditions. Is it slippery or snowy? Many injuries occur when you are running in snow, where holes, cracks or other thing can send you crashing down in one step. Try to use areas you are already familiar with.
- Blinking lights and reflective wear. There are many great choices out there for reflective wear, head lamps, small flashlights and attachable blinking lights. Experiment with them at the store before purchasing or ask running friends what works best for them. Safety experts say the goal is to get 360 degrees of reflectivity.
- Obey all traffic laws and generally accepted rules of the road. Be sure and signal to cars your intentions.
- The last and best advice is to run with a running buddy or group. There truly is safety in numbers. But run smart as a group as well, keep looking out for each other – share paths and roads and be courteous.
We have to improvise all the time to make things work – and this is no different. With a little thought and creativity – these winter mornings and nights can continue to add all the fabulous things we know getting out in the fresh air and moving does for us! Run with joy ladies!