It is great to be outdoors but it is even better when you feel safe, these road running safety tips are what I adhere to. They are simple to follow and helpful to be aware of too. I have gathered them over the 10 years that I have been running. Stay safe and enjoy the freedom of running.
running in daylight
It is important that you are seen and that you can see where you are going. I love running in the early morning – it makes me feel all alone in the world and super powerful!
I keep an eye on when the sun will rise and then head out about half to an hour before the sun will be up. Watching the sunrise is very special and I never tire of that. Living in the countryside also makes it impossible to run when the sun has set because we have so few streets or paths that are well-lit.
Some people run with headlights and some run on well-lit streets in a more urban setting. The safety tip is the same for both – see & be seen.
where to run – face the traffic
We debate this often in the family! But when you are running on the road and there is the possibility of cars and traffic – run facing the oncoming cars. Also – run on the shoulder of the road, not in the middle of the road.
The reason for this road running safety tip is that you can see what is coming towards you. If you run with the traffic/cars, in other words, run in the same direction as the traffic you will be slow to hear any car approaching from behind. You may hear the car, but it is not a good practice to run constantly looking over your shoulder.
I always look the driver in the eye, give them a friendly smile, and wave to say thank you for taking a wide birth around me and slowing down.
on the shoulder of the road
Keeping away from the cars and not getting in their way is what we try to do when we run on the shoulder of the road. This space has some challenges too. The camber may present a problem and it is good to be aware of this.
The camber is where the road slants down on the sides so that the rainwater can drain away from the road. The problem for the runner is that if that is where we are mostly doing our running, the unevenness may give us physical problems.
To solve this and also maintain road running safety tips, I switched it up.
- sometimes I run on paths where there are no cars, only pedestrians
- on some very quiet farm roads (no cars ever come but only the occasional tractor) that are tarred, I run on the opposite side (with the traffic)
- run on the pavement/sidewalk
We are not invincible on the road, even though we sometimes do feel that we ‘own’ the road. Give way, and yield to cars at an intersection. They have the right of way. Follow the traffic light, don’t nip across the road to try and beat the light. It is both dangerous for you and frustrating for a driver.
know your surrounding
Do your homework. You will be familiar with what is and what is not safe in your own neighborhood but ask locals when you are in a new space.
I love running in new places, suburbs, and countries. I always ask them some questions:
- as a woman, can I run alone?
- what are the restrictions on the way that I dress when I run?
- where are the best places for me to run here?
- does the time or day matter when I run?
These have helped me both to stay safe and to respect the culture. Last year I loved running in Italy in a touristy city. I got up early and saw how the street vendors were putting out their products or things to sell. There were no tourists around. I saw such a different view of the city, it was so special.
what to take with you
If you will be running alone. Take care of the following:
- tell someone where you will be going
- carry your mobile phone with you
- take a running partner with you(okay, technically – you wouldn’t be alone anymore;)
My husband mostly knows where I will be running when I am at home. I have a few set routes that are familiar to him too. I’ve once run a bit further where we stay – this was with my daughter, and we had both forgotten to take our mobile phones with us! Do not do this! The sun was setting and we got lost so we had to backtrack. This will never be repeated because we both felt scared. Not good.
I love running in new places and I do try to do all of the above but there was this one time. I ran out further and I couldn’t find my way back. My time was running out as I had to get back for an appointment. I got to an intersection and I took a photograph of the road names and sent them to my husband. He thankfully came by car to pick me up.
I have since learned how to drop a location pin, I love technology.
what to wear
Know what the weather will be like. When you start running regularly, you will look at your weather forecast app daily. Layering is the best way to dress and undress on any run. I always start out dressed a little warmer than necessary because I know that I can peel off the layer as I go. The extra layer also comes in handy at the end of the run as I am walking to cool down.
The fastenings of the tops are not fussy, so they are all easy to remove, tie around my waist, and then put back on again.
You may have your favorite color but please remember to buy the brightest tops. You need to be seen on the road, this may be one of the most important road-running safety tips to adhere to. Do not buy clothing that blends into the surroundings. Many of my tops, leggings, shorts, and shoes have reflective strips on them too. This helps with being visible too.