Running can be a joy, with the breeze in your hair, and trees and lampposts whizzing past in a blur of speed. It keeps you fit, and keeps you healthy. But if you are not careful, running can also be perilous. When you are out for a jog, make sure to follow these eight simple tips to keep yourself safe and make your excursion as enjoyable as possible.
1. Carry a Cell Phone
Always carry a cell phone with you on your runs. If you end up lost, injured, or disabled, a cell phone enables you to call for help. Make sure the battery is charged, and don’t count on having access to a public telephone. Phone booths are becoming rarer and rarer as cell phones become more common. Even if you can find a pay telephone, chances are it may not be operational.
2. Carry a Whistle
Carry a whistle or other noisemaker with you. It lets you signal for help if you find yourself in trouble. Should someone approach you in a threatening manner, you can create a loud, high-pitched noise that draws attention. With luck, the noise may even persuade an attacker to leave you alone.
3. Do Not Wear Headphones
Many runners enjoy listening to music as they jog. Yes, it is invigorating, and it helps to pass the time. However, headphones also impede your ability to hear what’s happening around you. Your eyes can only see what’s in front of you, while your ears receive signals from all directions. If you wear headphones, you might not hear the truck that turns the corner just as you step into its path.
4. Wear Reflective Gear
Always wear reflective gear, especially if you run at night, at dusk, or during the early morning. Dim light situations make you less visible than you think you are, and drivers may not see you amid all the bright streetlights and headlights on the road. Misty, foggy, or rainy conditions also make you hard to see, and shoe reflectors might be mistaken for light reflecting off puddles on the sidewalk. Therefore, be sure to wear reflective striping on your upper body and legs.
5. Carry Identification
Always carry identification with you in case an injury or sudden illness leaves you unconscious or unable to communicate. That way, police or medical professionals know who you are and can contact your family or friends. If you prefer not to carry a wallet, at least take a Sharpie and write your name, your contact information, your blood type, and any health issues on the inside sole of your athletic shoe. Road ID is also a good idea.
6. Tell Others Your Intended Route
Be sure to let others know which route you intend to take, so they know where to start looking if you do not return home as expected. If no one is home, leave a note or a voicemail.
7. Obey Traffic Signals
When running, always obey traffic signals. Never cross against a light when traffic has the right of way. Runners are smaller and harder to see than are cars, trucks, and SUVs. Moreover, many motorists are so busy concentrating on other vehicles they are not prepared for fast-moving pedestrians.
8. Use Runbell
Runbell is a sturdy, brass bell made especially for runners. With a flick of your thumb, Runbell lets you warn others of your presence with a bright, clear, ding! Whether you run on city streets or hiking trails, you are likely at some point to encounter other people, and such meetings sometimes end in collisions. With Runbell, you can politely signal your approach and give pedestrians time to move out of your way. When you ring the bell, dog walkers have time to control their dog, and dawdling bicyclists can speed up and leave you behind.
Runbell fits over two fingers and rests on the back of your hand, so it leaves your hands free for other uses. It comes in men’s and women’s sizes, and each comes with a couple of soft silicone inserts to adjust the sizing to fit anybody’s hand.
When you leave the house for a run, you never know what kind of hazards you might encounter. Play it safe. Make sure you keep all your senses engaged. Carry a cell phone, ID, and a whistle. Tell someone your intended route, or leave a note. Wear reflective gear to improve your visibility, obey all traffic signals, and carry Runbell with you to alert others to your presence and avoid painful collisions.