When the mornings aren't too hot and the evenings aren't too cold, spring and summer are the perfect seasons for running. Whether you are training for a marathon, getting in shape or just out to enjoy the weather, there are few things more rewarding than a good sweat and a runner's high. As fast as you might be moving, it is important to take a moment to remember safety on your route.
Do you have a favorite route to run? Even if you are familiar with your route, traffic and property hazards can still be unpredictable. Most runners think the biggest consequence they will face is a twisted ankle or a little dehydration. But, without a continued focus on safety, runners could expose themselves to the risk of an accident.
Here are three questions to ask yourself when considering your safety on a run.
- Am I visible enough? Chances are you have a strip of reflective material on your shoes or athletic shirt, but is this enough? Even a brightly colored shirt may not be visible enough at dusk or dawn to reflect the headlights of an oncoming car. Consider a reflective running vest, headlamp or blinking light in addition to your current gear.
- Is my cell phone fully charged? Whether you are listening to music or mapping your run, chances are that you have your cell phone with you when you run. According to the 2017 National Runner Survey, half of all runners prefer to run alone. Therefore, your phone can be a trusted partner when you need it. Your phone's GPS can guide you if you get lost, call for help in an emergency and take pictures of an accident scene or hazardous area.
- Am I running on the correct side of the road? Sometimes you might be forced to run on the road when there is no trail or sidewalk. If this is the case, the left side of the road is the safest place to run. This might seem counterintuitive because you are running into oncoming traffic. However, this allows you to see traffic as it passes you and react quickly if you have to avoid a vehicle.
If you are hurt by a distracted driver on the road or a slip and fall on someone else's property, you should seek medical attention to understand your options in recovery. You can hold distracted drivers and negligent property owners responsible for their actions. Don't unsafe behavior slow you down.