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Your Guide to Running Defensively

Tips on being a safe runner

While out running we’re among other pedestrians, cyclists, and traffic.

There’s a lot going on out there, and every little thing we all do to help prevent accidents goes a long way to increasing the safety of everyone.

Below are a number of thoughts and considerations you can take to be as safe as possible while out running!



While pedestrians do have the right of way, crosswalks are sometimes nearly ignored by drivers.

On a bike you’re supposed to stop before crossing. While running you should always try to slow a bit and look both ways to make sure you’re ok to cross. Even if drivers are watching, they may not be watching for someone going faster than walking speed.

Bonus: Give the driver that stops for you a quick thank you wave as you cross.

Use Hand Signals.

When running on a path where faster cyclists or cars may be watching you, it can be helpful to them if you point in the direction that you’re planning on making a quick turn.

Act Invisible.

This is likely the best advice on the list.

Run as though drivers cannot see you. The sad truth is that drivers are looking for others cars first and runners are likely a second thought at best. They actually may not see you.

But be very visible.

Wearing some form of bright clothing, be it shoes or a shirt, can go a long way towards increasing your visibility.

While drivers may not be looking for runners, a bright yellow shirt should likely catch their eye.

Be aware of your surroundings.

This includes both sight and sound.

Not wearing earbuds, or at least not in both ears, can go a long way to improving your awareness of vehicles and cyclists coming from behind you or to your side.

Watching your surrounds is important as well, especially while running past parked cars and businesses. Watch for doors or people coming out from around corners.

Know where the sun is.

During the morning commute to work drivers heading east may have their vision hindered by the sunrise.

If you’re aware of this, you can be extra mindful of where cars are and you can make sure to work with them to avoid any accidents.

Look at it as cooperation  between drivers, runners, and cyclists.

No one wants to get in an accident, yet everyone makes mistakes.

Even runners who are driving a car can accidentally pull out in front of a runner going through a crosswalk.

If we all work together  to be mindful while out on the roads, be it on foot or on wheels, we can reduce the number of accidents!

You may also like: When is the safest time to run?

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