With daylight savings time ending and the shorter days this time of year, it is important to think through and to have a plan for running or walking in low light situations. You can enjoy winter outdoor running and walking, whether you choose to run early morning or late evening, by following these tips and using as much common sense as you can muster! Enjoy the seasons and run with joy!
- Understand and follow all your local traffic-safety laws. Allow a minimum of three feet between you and any vehicle.
- Always let someone know where you are running and when you can be expected back.
- Wear high visibility reflective clothing, a reflective safety vest or put some reflective strips on your outwear. You can also wear a headlamp or carry a light to be better seen.
- Have some form of ID on you – and carry a cell phone if at all possible.
- Run in well-lit areas if possible and try to avoid heavy traffic areas, intersections and parking lots.
- Pay attention to your surroundings and let your instincts guide you. If it doesn’t feel right, it probably isn’t.
- Be prepared to jump onto the sidewalk or shoulder of the road.
- Avoid wearing your head phones or ear buds. If you must have music, leave only one in your ear.
- Face traffic. It’s easier to see oncoming traffic, as well as easier for them to see you.
- Approach hills, turns and other blind spots with caution. Assume that the driver(s) can’t see you and behave accordingly.
- At a stop sign or light, wait for the driver to wave you through–then acknowledge with your own wave.
- If you are running with friends, running in single file on roads may make the most sense.
For more women’s safety, we have assembled a comprehensive women’s safety guide, Designing a Safer Woman, which you can view or download here: http://runhers.com/2013/09/designing-a-safer-woman-version-1-0/
Finally, here is a 2012 article on running in the dark, “Embrace the Dark Side” – http://runhers.com/2012/11/running-in-the-dark-%e2%80%93-embrace-the-dark-side/