10 Tips for Staying Safe on the Roads
- Leave word. Tell somebody or leave a note at home about where you plan to go and how long you plan to be out. That way your loved ones will know to come look for you if needed.
- Identify yourself. Run with proper ID, and carry a cell phone with emergency contacts taped to its back.
- Face traffic. It’s easier to see, and react to, oncoming cars. And cars will see you more clearly too.
- Make room. If traffic gets heavy, or the road narrows, be prepared to move onto the sidewalk or shoulder of the road. Research reveals that most motorists like to separate themselves a minimum of six feet from objects. Many motorists, when possible, prefer to move over a lane when they see a runner or bicyclist, but no runner should count on that action. When a car is approaching, be prepared to step off the road and onto the sidewalk. Allow at least three feet between you and a passing vehicle.
- Be seen. Don’t assume a driver sees you. In fact, imagine that a driver can’t see you, and behave accordingly. Wear high-visibility, brightly colored clothing. When out near or after sunset, reflective materials are a must. And use a headlamp or handheld light so you can see where you’re going, and drivers can see you. The light should have a bright LED (drivers see blinking red as a hazard). The reflective material should cover half of the vest.
- Unplug your ears. Runners can’t do much about keeping high-tech drivers off the road, but they can prevent their own gadgetry from contributing to an accident. Don’t run with noise-cancellation headphones. While great for blocking out ambient noise when on the treadmill, they’ll often prevent you from hearing cars and other vehicles. Also, if you are going to run with headphones, run with only one ear bud in; you want to make sure that you can still hear outside noises, such as the sound of an approaching vehicle
- Watch the hills. When they crest hills, drivers’ vision can suddenly be impaired by factors like sun glare or backdrops.
- Beware of potential problem areas like entrances to parking lots, bars, and restaurants, where there may be heavy traffic.
- Watch for early birds and night owls. At odd hours be extra careful. Early in the morning and very late at night, people may be overtired and not as attentive.
10. Mind your manners. At a stop sign or light, wait for the driver to wave you through—then acknowledge with your own polite wave. That acknowledgement will make the driver feel more inclined to do it again for the next walker or runner. Use hand signals (as you would on a bicycle) to show which way you plan to turn.
But all in all, evening run can also be fun, for example at the Silversterlauf in Zürich every December!