An incident that happened to me on my long run on Friday prompted me to address this topic. I was running outside and as I was about to cross a street with a stop sign opposite the way I was running a speeding school bus stopped directly in front of me blocking my path. The bus proceeded to make a right and then sped down the street. Had I not been paying attention and just stepped out into the street that bus would have hit me. Not only did this bus driver break the law by rolling through a stop sign but he never even looked in my direction, his focus was to the left to see if it was clear for him to make a right. If I had been able to get the number of the bus I would have called an reported him, the man was not driving safely and it scared me to know he drives kids to school.
This story leads me to the number one safety tip I can give you when running outdoors and that is to be alert an aware of your surroundings at all times. This tip goes hand in hand with every other tip you will ever hear about safety. By being alert and aware you can keep yourself safe while running on the roads, in a park or anywhere else you can think to run. Don’t allow yourself to get lost in music or even your own thoughts make sure you pay attention because it can mean the difference between safety and serious injury or worse.
- Be alert and aware of your surroundings
- Never assume that a driver sees you unless he/she waves you on and even then make sure it is safe for you to go do not rely solely on the wave of someone else’s hand.
- Do not wear headphones or keep music very low. If your music is playing even at a fairly normal level you won’t hear car horns or if someone comes up behind you, I am guilty of wearing headphones but either I wear them in only one ear or I keep the music so low you can barely hear it.
- Wear reflective gear if running at dawn, dusk or nighttime.
- Avoid running alone at night or on secluded pathways. You can be attacked any time day or night but attacks are more likely to happen if alone especially at night or on secluded pathways where no one can here you scream.
- Always carry ID, some money and a cell phone if possible.
- Make sure someone knows where you are running and around when you are due to come home so if something were to happen to you like an accident or an attack it wouldn’t take hours for someone to figure out your are missing.
- Follow your gut instincts. Sometimes all you have is your gut instinct telling you not to run down that street or the person up ahead doesn’t look right, make sure you listen because even if you are wrong it is better to be safe than sorry.
- Don’t always follow the same route at the same time every run. If someone is watching you by showing them a pattern you leave yourself vulnerable.
- Last but not least if you ever are attacked kick, scream, scratch, punch, make noise and if you can get away do what you do best and run to the nearest store, house or crowded area you can get to quickly. Many attackers will back off if you make noise.
These are just some of many safety tips that you should take into account when you are out there running. I have been running for over 14 years and thankfully have never been attacked or had an accident. You can never be completely safe but you can take into account all the tips I have provided and just use your common sense to keep yourself as safe as possible.
Do you have any additional safety tips to add?