Runners- How To Stay Visible When the Sun Goes Down
When the days are shorter, runners face another challenge besides meeting their mileage goal. Running in the darkness entails certain risks, such as:
- Tripping on loose gravel or other debris that is difficult to see
- Falling or tripping on uneven pavement or potholes
- Collision with moving vehicles
While many runners carry a handheld light to deal with the first two hazards, not all of them also make themselves more visible to motorists. According to the NHTSA, nearly 25% of pedestrian fatalities took place between 6:00 p.m. and 9:00 p.m.in the evening- which also happens to be a time when most runners hit the road after a long day at work.
It’s a daunting statistic, but runners can improve their safety levels by donning sportswear and accessories that make them easier to detect along the road at night, reducing the risk of being injured or killed in the name of physical fitness.
Carry a Light
The reflective clothing that most runners wear doesn’t always enhance visibility enough to prevent an accident. For maximum visibility, wear a headlamp with lights on the back and front of the headband, don a set of knuckle lights, or carry a high-wattage flashlight. Any one of these will light the road in front of you so that you can spot potholes and debris while remaining visible to motorists.
Choose Reflective Running Gear
Reflective running apparel will make a runner visible to drivers from 500 feet, while neon or brightly colored clothing allows them to spot a roadside pedestrian from only 180 feet. That sounds like a lot, until one takes into account that if a vehicle is traveling at 40 miles per hour, it will take more than 180 feet for them to completely stop.
Fluorescent materials are ideal for drawing the eye during the day, but they are less effective at night because they are only activated by ultraviolet radiation, which is not typically found in streetlights and car headlights.
Many runners limit their lights and reflective gear to their upper body, forgetting that the majority of headlights are angled downward. It is therefore important to add lower-body visibility touches such as reflective shoelaces and socks or reflective strips on running shoes. If you’re unsure if you’ve got enough reflective material on, you can always add some more by using reflective tape.
Additional Safety Tips
Other safety tips for nighttime runners include:
- Run on the side of the road facing traffic, making it easy to quickly jump off the road if a driver does not see you.
- If you run with an iPod or MP3 player, keep the music level low so that you can hear approaching vehicles.
- Run with a friend, who may be able to spot dangers that you miss.
- Choose a well-lit route.
- Take your phone with you, in case you feel threatened and need to summon assistance.
Visibility products are like running shoes in that they should be tried on and tried out to determine their comfort and functionality during post-sunset runs. Runners should create their own personal ‘safety mix’ that includes an assortment of light sources and reflective clothing and accessories. Common sense is also important: avoid dangerous areas, especially when running alone, and remain aware of your surroundings at all times.
This article was created by Personal Injury Help, an organization dedicated to providing the public with information about personal injury and safety information. Nothing in this article constitutes legal advice or opinion, and is intended for informational use only. To find out more about them, you can go to www.personalinjury-law.com or contact them at firstname.lastname@example.org