Safety tips for running in the dark

19 nov. 2009 09h19
Jean-Loup Fenaux

During Autumn and Winter, you must be just like me and find it hard to train during daylight. If you don’t have a day job that allows you to run duing your lunch break, you will have to run at night, either in the morning or in the evening.

Ghostly runner in the night
Crédit : spjwebster

I don’t particularly like to run at night but in this season, I don’t have much a choise. Here are a few tips I’ve gathered to help you run safely at light.

1. Be Seen

This is the most important rule. The main problem with running at night is … darkness. It is obvious, but we tend to easily forget about it. In the dark, people with whom you share the road will have greater difficulties seeing you. And cars find it hard to adapt their driving to your presence once they’ve seen you.

Therefore, you should wear items that will help you being seen at night from far away. Many running shoes and jackets incorporate reflective bars, but I don’t think it is enough. I would suggest to wear a reflective armband and even better a reflective jacket. This way no one will be able to say they haven’t seen you coming.

2. Run against the traffic

This is a rule I’ve been taught in my old Scout days : ‘If you have to walk along a road that doesn’t have a pavement, always walk against the traffic.’

It is all the more true while running and running at night. This tip won’t help the car see you better, but it will certainly help you see the cars coming.

3. Forget about your Ipod

Unless you run in a park without any traffic, I strongly suggest you to leave your Ipod at home. As it is harder for cars or bikes to see you at night, you are the one to be cautious. Running while listening to music, will distract you from your environment. When confronted to danger, you’ll only be aware of it at the last moment and will be unable to take any preventive actions.

4. Run with a buddy

It is alway more enjoyable to share a training session with a buddy with whom you can chat while running. At night, 2 runners are more easily seen than one. And in case of emergency, it is always fine to have someone with you to look for help.

If you have to run alone, bring your cell phone, just in case. But don’t listen to music on it ;-)

5. Run in well lit areas

This one is an easy one. If you can, run in well lit parks or roads. This will help others see you more easily, but first of all, it will help you see the irregularities of the road or the holes in the trails.

If you cannot run in such areas, you can wear a head lamp. And if in fact you’re training for a night run, you should alway take your head lamp, to get accustomed to it.

6. If you can start to run before twilight

As the ambient light will gradually be diminishing, it will be easier for your eyes to get accustomed to darkness.

Do you have any other tips to share with us?