Safety Rules Every Runner Should Follow

May 20, 2015 //

Running is a great way to stay fit and works with pretty much every schedule. The road is never closed and there's no monthly fee! But there are quite a few safety tips you should consider before hitting the pavement, especially during certain times of the day and in certain locations.

1. Wear the Proper Gear

It’s important to wear the proper gear, especially when a driver’s visibility is limited due to the weather or at night. Wearing vibrant colors and reflective gear is your best bet to stay safe when it comes to making sure drivers can see you.

Also, in extreme weather, you want to wear activewear made of a moisture-wicking fabric to stay cool. In cold temperatures, specialized cold gear helps your body retain heat during those long runs outside. A hydration belt might also be necessary on particularly hot days and especially if you’re running longer distances. If you tend to run at night, you can also purchase clip-on flasher lights so you’re more visible to motorists. If you’re not familiar with a particular area, you may even want to carry pepper spray for self-defense purposes.

2. Know the Rules of the Road

If you’re running on the side of the road, you should always run against traffic. You can’t assume that a driver sees you and it’s vital to have enough time to react to a motorist who may swerve into your path. You should also stop for drivers at intersections unless a driver waves you on. You can’t assume that a driver will stop for you or that they're paying attention. If you’re running in pairs or in a group when there’s a lot of traffic, make sure you run single-file. Also be aware of people pulling out of their driveway, since they may not see you initially. To be on the safe side, you can also avoid roads that are under heavy construction because there may not be enough room for both runners and motorists.

3. Be Aware

You should always be aware of your surroundings when you’re running, no matter what time of the day it is. If you’re running at night, your visibility is limited, so you need to pay even more attention to traffic and the sounds around you. If you like to listen to music while you run, as a safety measure, you should only use one earbud or keep your music low enough to hear what’s going on around you. You should always avoid using noise-canceling headphones. You need to be able to listen to sounds around you in the event you need to react or defend yourself quickly.

4. Prepare for Your Run

Before you head out on the road, make sure you know your route and don’t stray from it. If you run with your phone, there are plenty of apps that can track your run and search different routes with GPS. It’s also a good safety measure to not always use the same route all the time and to break up your patterns. Also prepare for your runs by fueling up properly and stretching to prevent any injuries along the way. You should always carry some kind of identification on you while you go out running if there is an emergency. If you can, it’s also a wise to let someone know where you’ll be running and how long you'll be gone for.

5. Find Safety in Numbers

If you don’t feel safe running alone, find a running buddy or a running group in your area, If you’re recovering from an injury, it would be a good idea to run with someone just in case you injure yourself again and need immediate assistance or help getting back home. If you’re going on more of a secluded trail or less-traveled path, it's would be a good idea to run with a partner.

Following these safety tips will reduce your chances of getting hurt, or from being a target the next time you go out for a run. Safety is always something that should be kept in mind whether you’re in a high-traffic area or on a more secluded trail. So next time you go out for a run, remember safety first and happy running!

Emily Capdevielle

I am currently a features contributor for Fitness Republic focusing on health and fitness topics to help improve your daily life! My expertise is honed by my own fitness journey and love for running. As a half-marathoner, you can say that I'm only half crazy. I majored in journalism at Columbia College Chicago and currently live in the Chicagoland area.

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