Friday, August 23, 2019

Caution: Runners On Road

Running can be a dangerous sport! I'm not sure people truly understand that we put our lives on the line every time we lace up our running shoes.

I was recently in a race with hundreds of runners when a car sped toward the crowd on a narrow road in a thickly settled neighborhood. Instead of waiting for the crowd to run by, or at the very least slow down, the driver revved his engine, peeled out, and charged at us. Quite a few of us cried out in fear as many runners were forced off the road!

I couldn't help but wonder: What was so urgent that this driver risked inflicting major injury—possibly death—to others on a Saturday morning? Did he even realize the potential harm he was causing? Or was he just annoyed there was a race in his neighborhood?

Runners are not objects or inconveniences; we're people, and we're not out to ruin anyone's day. Our only agenda is to run, and we just want to be safe while running. So I've created a list for non-runners and runners alike to keep everyone safe on the road.

For drivers:

1. Yield and proceed with caution.

When you encounter a runner on the road, please yield and assess the situation before proceeding with caution. Runners aren't always immediately aware that a car is nearby. Slowing down will allow the runner time to become aware that a car is approaching so that they can also proceed with caution, bettering the chances of avoiding an accident. If you drive through a race, follow race signs and volunteer directions, and please take extra caution so we're all safe.

2. Make eye contact.

Just because a runner is coming toward you doesn't mean they see you. Make eye contact when possible so you both know you're aware of the other and can move accordingly. If you don't have time to make eye contact, you're driving too fast. Review tip #1.

3. Do not honk or shout out.

Treat runners like other drivers on the road. Do not honk incessantly, whistle, or catcall out your window. Sudden noises cause panic in runners, and panic can result in erratic movement, which can result in an accident. Also, it's a jerk move. Don't be a jerk.

4. Please be patient.

We runners understand that we're slower than cars and that we might get in the way in some circumstances. We appreciate your patience as we do our best to move out of your way. We just want the same respect as everyone else who shares the road.

The responsibility of safety is not entirely on drivers. We runners must take precautions every time we hit the pavement.

For Runners:

A. Follow the rules.

Whether you're in a race or running solo, follow road rules. For example: run facing traffic, stop at intersections, use crosswalks, obey traffic signals, and use hand signals to signal drivers. When possible, run on pedestrian paths and sidewalks.

B. Pay attention.

It's so easy to zone out when running, but that can lead to injury. To stay alert, play mental games like "how many [animals, car colors, plant/flower types, etc.] can you find while running." If you listen to music, avoid earbuds or noise cancelling headphones. Play music through your phone's speaker (not during a race; that annoys other racers), or buy bone conduction earphones so that you can hear your surroundings.

C. Wear bright, reflective clothing.

Shining bright by sunlight
Women's reflective bling vigor singlet in charcoal
Wait for it...
With all the distractions on the road—other drivers, flashing lights, billboards and scrolling marquees—it's easy for runners to blend into the background. So RUN BRIGHTLY! IllumiNITE athletic apparel comes in a variety of bright colors for all shapes and sizes. And what's better: their reflective ink shines brightly when illuminated by headlights, sunlight, any kind of light, to keep runners visible and safe in all weather conditions. IlumiNITE also sells bright, reflective accessories, such as headbands, bibs, gloves, and hats. And they even have reflective apparel for your pets.

Because you're reading this post, you can receive 15% off your entire IllumiNITE order with my discount code RUNBRIGHTLY. Spread the safety by sharing the code with all your running, and walking, friends!

D. Take extra safety precautions.

Running gear for Kintyre Way Ultra
Anything can happen on a run, so it's good to be prepared for anything. Before heading out on a solo run, tell a friend or family member the route you're running, how many miles, and your estimated return time. Don't forget to text when you're done! Carry extra water, a cell phone, a whistle, a pocket knife, and mace when running solo or in remote areas. A running pack, vest, or bag will hold these supplies. If you don't want to add extra bulk, IllumiNITE offers clothing styles with pockets. I was able to comfortably carry my passport in the zipped back pocket of my IllumiNITE dovetail women's short sleeve reflective tee when I ran Kintyre Way Ultra in Scotland. It was such a relief to not worry about having it on hand.

Runners and non-runners alike. Let's help keep the road a little safer. It may save a life. What safety tips do you find helpful? Leave a comment below.

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