Whether you're training for a race this fall or just enjoying a run outside, consider these precautions to stay safe.
1. Stay alert and aware of your surroundings. The more aware you are, the less vulnerable you are. Making sure you're properly hydrated and wearing safety vest to keep yourself visible before and during a run can help you stay alert.
2. Don't wear headphones. As much as you enjoy listening to music, the RCAA and Runner's World recommend not wearing headphones so you can use your hearing to be aware of your surroundings.
3. Use the sidewalk or the shoulder. Where a sidewalk is provided and “its use is practicable,” it's unlawful for any pedestrian to walk or run in the street. Where there's no sidewalk, any pedestrian must walk or run only on a shoulder, “as far as practicable” from the roadway.
4. Face traffic. Where there's no sidewalk or shoulder, any pedestrian must walk "as near as practicable" to the outside edge of the roadway, and if it's a two-way street, only on the left side. Also, it's easier to see and react to what's in front of you.
5. Do what you can to be seen. Wear reflective clothing, reflective arm/leg bands, and if you run in low light conditions carry or wear a light. Specialty running stores carry many safety and reflective gear options. Though research, researchers found that reflective vest or sportswear with reflective tape and other safety gears can effectively protect walkers or runners. Be seen, be safe.
6. Never assume a driver sees you. Runner's World recommends imagining the driver can't see you and behaving accordingly.
7. Observe traffic laws. Again, it's the law – even though you're moving at lightning speed, remember you're still a pedestrian. Don't run out in front of traffic. Don't dodge between cars.
8. Tell someone, choose a safe route. If you can't say it in person, write down or text someone when you're setting out for a run. Don't run through unpopulated areas, unlit areas and avoid high traffic zones like parking lots.
9. Be polite, even when drivers aren't. Ignore drivers who shout or honk at you. Be "the bigger person" and don't shout or gesture at rude drivers. If a driver waves you forward, acknowledge it with a wave. Think of it as paying it forward for other runners-if you're polite, maybe that driver won't be rude to the next runner he or she encounters.
10. Be prepared in case something does happen. This means carrying proper ID, investing in an ID bracelet with reflective material, and maybe even carrying a cell phone. Runner’s World recommends taping emergency contacts to the back of your phone.