Every year over 122,000 runners, walkers, and cyclists are hit by cars in America. Pedestrian accidents occur most frequently during the fall, when the days are shortest. Residents of Boston and New York see as little as just over nine hours of daylight for most of December. And with the sun rising after 7am and setting as early as 4:11pm, most athletes who must also contend with other life necessities, like commuting, will be exercising in the dark. Not ideal, given that over three quarters of pedestrian accidents which result in serious injury occur from dusk to dawn.
But don’t let these deterrents stop you from getting out there! November is National Running Safety Month. Help ensure your own safety by following these tips for running safely in the dark:
- Wear reflective gear. No, plain light colored clothing doesn’t count! Reflective gear and accessories can add up to several hundred feet of visibility-- which could be the difference between a driver having time to see and drive around you, or not. Experts recommend wearing reflective accents like our Neon Bands, Neon Flare, and Neon Vest, and also flashing lights, like our Fire Flare Band and Fire Light.
- Wear a headlamp. Not only will this help others see you, it will help you see them and the road better! Why be blind when you can see the light (and where you’re going)?
- Wear a Road ID or carry identification. You can also run with your phone and enable the “Medical ID” function. Whatever the means, make identifying yourself easy in case of an accident.
- Run without headphones. While blasting pump-up tunes is an optimal way to get those motivational juices flowing, it’s pretty unideal for staying alert. Your eyesight is already impaired in the dark, please don’t compromise another sense at the same time.
- Run against traffic. Thanks to the fact that you can see cars approaching and adjust your position accordingly, you are 77-percent less likely to be struck or injured by a car. Keep the odds in your favor.
- Run behind vehicles at intersections. While they should be back to see you thanks to all of your reflective and blinking accents, just don’t risk it. Thank you.
- Stick to well-lit neighborhoods. If possible.
- Run with a partner. A dog counts! There is power (and safety) in numbers, people.
- Run with a whistle and/or pepper spray. Better safe than sorry.