FitStyle: Running Safety
Although running safety may seem like a nonsensical subject, years of running the streets of the Queen City have enlightened me to the lack of common sense runners have upon lacing up their sneakers. In Charlotte alone, over 250 pedestrians are injured and/or killed by collisions with automobiles each year and while not all of these are runners, even pedestrians can benefit from a few safety precautions while navigating city sidewalks. Over the years I have picked up a few tips and tricks of the trade that keep me safe on the sidewalks and beyond:
1. Always take a phone. I really can’t stress this enough. Yes it can be bulky but I promise when you fall and twist your ankle (or worse) like I have before, you will be SO thankful for that bulky phone. It can also double as your music provider and with a sleek armband, you won’t know the difference between it and your ipod.
2. Carry ID. Not only should you have your I.C.E. number programmed in your phone, make sure to carry some form of identification just in case. Road ID is a great source for stylish and functional forms of wearable identification to keep you safe on your next run.
3. Make yourself visible. Wear bright clothing and make eye contact with drivers at intersections to make sure they see you before crossing the street.
4. Never run alone. I am guilty of this one on more than one occasion, so if you find yourself without a running partner at the very least tell someone where you are going and for how long. Even better, tell them your exact route so they know where to look if you don’t make it back at the given time.
5. Leave the headphones at home. Remember that phone I mentioned before? You don’t need headphones to listen to music. Headphones are dangerous because they block out all outside noise so just use the speaker on your phone if you must have music. I do this all the time and no one is the wiser. Except for me when I can hear cars and people approaching.
6. Keep close to public areas. Most of the time I feel more than safe running the streets of the Queen City, but on occasion I have found myself feeling uncomfortable with my surroundings so I hightail it to the most public area nearby. If you feel someone is following you, cross to the opposite side of the street and get to the nearest restaurant, gas station, or other highly visible area.
7. Take water or map water fountains on your route. With the heat well into the 100’s down South the past few weeks, water has become a vital need for outdoor runs. If carrying a bottle is bothersome, take a throwaway bottle or map your route around water fountains. Heat exhaustion is not worth it.
8. ALWAYS follow traffic laws. I can’t count the times I have spotted runners crossing on don’t walk signs, dodging in front of cars and other dangerous feats because they couldn’t pause to follow the traffic signs. An added minute to your run is better than risking your life, trust me.
9. Don’t wear a ponytail. Perhaps this is a bit paranoid, but ponytails make it easier for someone to grab you and ever since this happened to a girl at my college I have been wary of wearing a long ponytail on a run.
10. Never talk to strangers. Remember what your mom told you in the first grade? It still applies as an adult. No one has any business stopping and asking a runner for information, so just ignore them and keep on running!