Now that we have set the clocks back for fall, many runners that have to run after work have been plunged into darkness. There are also a good number of people that choose to run at what I consider an insanely early hour (4:30 to 5), who are well accustomed to running in the dark. Veteran early morning and night runners are well aware of the dangers posed by running in the dark, but I figure that for all of us (newbies and veterans), it never hurts to revisit some safety precautions.
- First and foremost, opt for a route that is well-lit. Extra light will not only protect you from unseen obstacles, i.e. the neighborhood raccoon or skunk, but will also minimize your vulnerability to potential attackers. The extra lighting also helps to keep you visible to any traffic on the roads.
- Make sure you wear as much reflective gear as possible. The small amount of reflectivity on your sneakers is not nearly enough. Opt for a reflective shirt, vest, or jacket. Brooks (I have a pair of the Adapt gloves in Nightlife green that I love) and Saucony both make great lines of reflective gear. Wear as much as you can!
- Because roadways are not always well-lit, a headlamp can be very beneficial for running in the dark. Drivers will see a headlamp sooner than bright or light colored clothing. Headlamps can project light beams from 25 meters and up, depending on the model you choose. There are also Knuckle Lights and light belts, which can help you see and be seen.
- Run with a partner or a group if possible–it makes the miles go faster any way. There is safety in numbers. Drivers are much more likely to see a group of well-reflected runners than an individual.
- Always run with identification and a phone (if possible) and make sure you run AGAINST traffic. You have a much greater advantage of avoiding a potential collision if you can see the vehicle and jump onto the sidewalk or off the road. You are also more visible to the driver.
Please feel free to share any tips you have for keeping safe in the dark!