How not to get hit by a car

by - Tuesday, November 10, 2009

With the time change, I'm stuck running in the dark no matter when I head out for my run. Running in the dark is one of my least favorite things to do, but sometimes I just can't stand the thought of getting on the treadmill. So, here's how I try to ensure that I won't get hit by a car on my dark runs.

Note: It was this dark when I left my house at 5:30 to go running last night. (Sorry it's a little blurry...the camera didn't kept trying to focus on the screen in my window)

It looks like it could be about 9:30 not 5:30.

How to not get hit by a car:

Wear obnoxiously bright/reflective clothes. Note my really bright pink top with reflective strips on it, topped with my super sexy reflective vest. Yea, maybe I look a little bit like a crossing guard, but hey, drivers tend to not plow crossing guards down, even the constantly angry, stressed-out-because-they're-stuck-in-rush-hour D.C. drivers.

Turn your jams down. Now I like rocking out to Lady Gaga on my runs just as much as the next person, but at night when I can only see a few steps in front of me, it's just better to turn the jams down so I can focus on hearing whether someone (like the boogey man...or another runner or biker) is coming up behind me. Plus, running with your music lower will let you hear if a car is about to slam on its breaks to avoid hitting you as you run through an intersection.

Carry ID and your cell phone with you
. Yea it can be annoying to lug your cell phone along but when I run in the dark it's a must for me. If you trip and fall you can call someone for help and if you fall so bad that you get knocked out at least the hopefully nice person who stops to help you will be able to give your ID to the EMTs. This is actually a pretty good rule for running any time, not just at night, but I sometimes I slack on it in the summer when it's light outside and I'm less worried about falling or getting hit by a car.

So now here's the fun part of safety post. I want you to share what you all do to stay safe on the roads when you're running at night or in the early morning. Write a post about it, take a picture of yourself, make a video, whatever you want to do. Leave me a comment on this post with a link back to your post or email me the picture/video file at jmilcetich(at)gmail(dot)com and I'll compile them all into a big post with the pictures and links to ideas we can share. Deadline to submit is 5 p.m. Nov. 15th. I don't have a fun incentive for you now, but I'll see what I can do because I know you all love giveaways!

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  1. Oh I am so bad about doing some of these things. I try to just stay in really well lit areas and know that I am more aware of cars than they are of me

  2. Unfortunately I did get hit by a car while riding my bike a few weeks ago. It wasn't dark yet, the driver wasn't paying attention and turned left into me. After an ambulance ride, I found I had one broken rib and lots of the glass from the shattered windshield in my arm.

    I did have a cell phone. I had dog tags on with my name and emergency contact info on them but none of this combats stupid. If even if you are right, the car wins.

    I've started running again but most of my night runs have been on a lit track at the high school since my wife is still nervous (I've told her that I've already been hit by a car so I don't need to do that again). I will be running on the road at night (most likely Thursday) all lit up (flashing lights, etc) with light, glow in the dark colored clothing.

    Best hint: assume every driver headed towards you is a teenager texting while driving and not paying attention to you. Make eye contact with the drivers so you know they see you. This applies to day and night running though.

    Sorry for the rant.

  3. The safety vest is a must. Be visible, but assume you're not. And RockstarTri's advice is solid. Cheers!

  4. ... drivers tend to not plow crossing guards down ...

    I aim for crossing guards! Think they're so ALL THAT with their reflective vests and ability to stop traffic! I'll show them! TASTE DODGE NEON FRONT QUARTER PANEL, elitist Crossing Guard!1! You're no better than me!1!

    Kidding! I don't aim for Crossing Guards.

    I aim for people on crutches in the crosswalks.

    MOVE IT, Gimpy! I gotz places to be!

  5. My safety plan no matter the time of day...make sure to make eye contact with all drivers! Don't assume they're going to let you cross the street/not hit you. That's one way to get hit!

  6. ---------\\\\|/---------
    Muito boa a dica corredora, com certeza ajudará os corredores, parabéns...
    Bons treinos,

    Um abraço,

    Jorge Cerqueira

  7. stick to the dreadmill. stay inside where it's nice and cozy and safe. that's what i do.

  8. I spend at least 30% of my runs thinking about if people will be able to identify my corpse or not after I get hit by a car. Truly.

  9. I'm so bad I need to be concerned about my safety more :) Luckily my path is well lit!

  10. I REALLY need to invest in a reflective vest. Thanks for the reminder!

  11. I have a Road ID on my shoe and I always carry my cell phone when I run outdoors. (I was attacked by two off-leash dogs this past spring - I was very glad to have my phone!) But I live in a city and I just don't feel safe running alone in the dark before work. My area of the city is relatively safe, but I still think it's too risky. I stick to the treadmill (blah).

  12. Love the post and the pictures. :) Way to stay safe out there!

  13. I really should be putting more of these rules into practice. One day, I am so gonna get plowed over.

  14. I wouldn't run with music at all if you're running at night, especially if you're alone. Even if you think you can hear everything around you, you'll just look like an easy target.

  15. Hi Jess

    I actually started laughing (and spit up my afternoon coffee)when I saw the picture of you in the "vest". Awesome. On a serious note, I am totally careful crossing busy streets and try to avoid them as much as possible. I am also lucky as I have a couple different Rails to Trails I can run on that only cross a couple roads over many miles. I do love a little Paparazzi along with my 3. Just can't help myself...

  16. that is a saucy vest! bow chica bow bow! ;)

    i mostly go for the reflective status, though the logos on my shirts aren't the biggest. i have some sugoi shorts with decent strips of reflector on them so i try to keep those clean for dark runs. my road id (anklet) has a ring of reflector too, and i may actually break down and buy a headlamp this year. nerd status!

  17. Road ID! Everybody should have one!!