Many of us can lead pretty busy lives, and by the time we finish up for the day there isn’t much daylight left to go for a run. This is especially true throughout the autumn and winter months. It may be unavoidable that you will be running in the dark so here are some tips to help keep you safe on night runs.
Run against the traffic
When running at night, always run against the flow of traffic, rather than with the flow of traffic as you would if cycling. You will then be able to see oncoming vehicles, possibly even before they see you, and give enough time to take avoidance action should you need to do so.
Choose well lit routes
It may be dark outside, but there’s no reason why you can’t use the facilities around you. Make use of areas where street lights are present as this will make you a lot more visible. The lighter the route, the safer you will be.
Make yourself visible
It’s very important when running at night that you make yourself as visible as you possibly can. Wearing whites, yellows and oranges will ensure you are easy to spot. Avoid dark colours or colours you may find in nature. Clothes that make use of reflective strips or panels are ideal; look for these on jackets, shoes and bags. Ideally where possible you will benefit from wearing the following running in the dark gear:
- Running trainers with reflective panels
- Shorts of trousers which have reflective piping down the leg
- A windproof or waterproof high viz jacket with reflective panelling
- If not wearing a jacket, then a high viz t-shirt with a high viz vest.
- Reflective arm or leg bands
- Small and powerful head torch
Lose the headphones
Your sense of hearing is incredibly important when running at any time of the day. When night running, when yours and even others vision may be impaired, it is increasingly important that you can use your hearing to hear traffic, cyclists or even other runners that may be on the same route.
Have a running buddy
There’s strength in numbers! Running with a friend will help you be seen. Double the runners, double the visibility. There are many running clubs around the country, joining one of these can give you an opportunity to run with a lot of like-minded people and you will be a lot safer running in a group.
Be aware of drivers
Never assume that a driver has seen you. It will be a lot easier for you take avoidance action against any potential danger that a car could put you in if you take control of the situation. Drivers won’t often be expecting to see runners out a night whilst driving.
Carry a form of ID with you
In the unlikely event that something may happen whilst out running, having some form of ID with emergency contacts and even some medical information will assist anyone trying to help you.
Keep your phone on you
Take your phone out with you if you are going for a run in the dark. If you find yourself in an emergency you will be able to make contact with friends, family or the emergency services. Many phones these days will have an ‘ICE’ (In Case of Emergency) option within the contacts section. This can be updated with your medical information and allows you to add emergency contact information. This information can be seen on your phones lock screen to make it easier.
Rotate the routes you take
You may find running the same route over and over will become boring. Keeping routes varied will help keep things interesting and will make it harder for anyone to learn your routes and routines.