Night Running Safety Tips
Running during the day is safest, but most people cannot fit that into their schedule. When you have a busy work or family life, you need to find time wherever you can to fit your run in, which often means running at night. However, there are more dangers that you need to be aware of when you are on a night run, and it is important that you take precautions to stay safe.
You are less visible at night, so the chance of traffic incidents is much higher. Obstacles, like tree branches or potholes in the road, are harder to spot, so there is more chance of injury there as well. Finally, you need to be aware of potential attacks that may be waiting for people that run at night. If you are going to stay safe and avoid these dangers, you need to follow these important tips for running at night.
1. Run Against Traffic
If you are on a night run down a busy road, it is always safest to run against the traffic. It is far easier for you to avoid traffic if you can see it coming towards you, but if the flow of traffic is coming from behind, it is easy to miss it. Running against the traffic also makes it easier for drivers to spot you and reduce their speed as they pass.
2. Run Behind Traffic At Intersections
When you come to an intersection and a car stops, you cannot assume that they are stopping for you. There is always the chance that they have not noticed you and they will speed forward as you cross. Regardless of whether the car has stopped or not, you should always run behind the car to be safe.
3. Acknowledge Drivers
Making an effort to acknowledge drivers can keep you safe on a night run. A small wave or a nod lets them know that you are there so they can be more aware of you as they pass. It may also keep you safe if you are attacked as the drivers around you are more aware of your presence and they can help you.
4. Don’t Wear Headphones
Most people wear headphones when they run, but if you are planning to run at night, you should leave them at home. When you listen to music while running, it makes you far less aware of your surroundings. You will not be able to hear a car horn, for example, and in a dangerous situation, your initial reaction can be the difference between life and death. Wearing your workout headphones on a night run also makes you more vulnerable to attacks because you cannot hear them approaching. Even though you might enjoy listening to music when you work out, you should never wear them when you run at night.
5. Wear The Right Clothing
Your choice of clothing, especially your running jacket, is very important when you are on a night run. Dark colors make you incredibly hard to spot, which increases the chance of a traffic accident. You should always stick to light colors and wear reflective clothing so drivers can easily spot you. It is also a good idea to wear a cap and some clear glasses when you are on a night run because the cap will deflect any low hanging branches that you fail to notice, and the glasses will protect you from bugs and debris that can obscure your vision. Finally, you will need some good quality stability running shoes with plenty of grip. The chance of slips and falls is increased on a night run, so make sure that your shoes have a good tread on them. It is always a good idea to bring a LED flashlight, too.
6. Run With A Partner
If you are worried about potential attackers on your route, you should always go with a partner when you run at night. If you are running with somebody else, a potential attacker will be more likely to keep their distance as they are looking for vulnerable people on their own. Having a partner there also means that you can get immediate medical attention if you injure yourself during your run.
7. Change Your Route
Attackers that prey on people while they are on a night run will often watch their target for a while before attacking. While this is not always the case, it is still a good idea to change your route regularly so potential attackers cannot learn the pattern and wait in particularly isolated areas.
When you are choosing a route, you need to consider the potential dangers along the way. If you go on a night run through a heavily wooded area with very little lighting and very few people, that can be incredibly dangerous. You will be a lot safer running through a well lit urban area where there are more likely to be people around. However, if you are running through a busier area, there will be more traffic to watch out for. It is important that you weigh all of these factors when deciding on a route. It is a good idea to tell somebody which route you are taking and roughly how long you expect it to take when you run at night. That way, they can raise the alarm if something happens to you while you are out running.
8. Bring Your Phone
You may be tempted to leave your phone at home as you are not using it to listen to music. However, you should always bring it along when you run at night. Being able to contact somebody in an emergency is so important, and there are also some great apps that you can use to stay safe. The Road ID app will monitor your movement and if you are stationary for 5 minutes, it will send an SOS message to your chosen contacts and display your information on the screen, even if your phone is locked. These kinds of apps can be a huge help if you find yourself in a dangerous situation.
It is always best to run during the day if possible because it is a lot safer. However, if you are going to run at night, you can follow these tips to stay safe.