Some of the most devastating car accidents are those involving pedestrians. Many of these accidents involve people in crosswalks or getting in and out of cars, but a lot of them also involve runners. Those who jog in the city spend a lot of time in close proximity to vehicles, and there’s always an inherent danger there, no matter how experienced they are.
So, if you decide to run near traffic — or if you have no choice — here are some safety tips that can help you avoid a serious crash:
1. Assume the driver has no idea where you are
When you assume a driver sees you, you may accidentally put yourself in danger. Even when you have the right of way — you’re crossing in a crosswalk in front of a driver waiting to turn right on a red light, for instance — you need to consider the ramifications if the driver makes a mistake. Check to see if the driver has actually seen you by making eye contact before going in front of the vehicle.
2. Run toward the cars
When running on the side of the road, always face the traffic. You need as much warning as possible that someone doesn’t see you so that you can get out of the way. If a car comes up from behind you and drifts onto the shoulder while the driver reads a text message, you don’t know until they hit you. If the same car comes toward you from the front, you see it coming and you can move farther to the side.
3. Don’t run in the dark
Drivers have a hard time seeing runners in the dark. All they look for are headlights so they can watch traffic. Try to run during the day as much as possible. For those late-night runs you can’t avoid, look for well-lit areas with plenty of streetlights. Always wear bright colors and consider reflectors and LED lights.
4. Don’t listen to music
Yes, many runners love to listen to music on their headphones while they run. This is especially true with distance running. It can get boring when you’re out there for more than an hour. But those headphones are a huge distraction and they make it so you can’t hear engines, horns and traffic around you. Your best chance to avoid an accident is to stay alert and pay attention to everything happening on the road.
These tips can help you stay safe as you put in those miles pounding the pavement. But they cannot prevent all accidents. If you get hit and suffer serious injuries, you need to know how to seek compensation.