With the coming of the winter solstice, we’re in the darkest – and shortest – days of the year. Which means that unless you work out exclusively on your lunch hour, you’re probably doing at least some of your running or walking in the dark.
So it’s time for some safety talk. Have you had the experience of being startled when someone steps out into the street in the dark and you can barely see them? Don’t let that be you! Here are 5 top safety tips for being seen and staying safe at night.
1. Banish Black. You want to be wearing light colored clothing that will show up in headlights. Think bright – fleeces in white, yellow, and day-glo colors like orange and green will help you be seen.
2. Shine in the Light. Wear an orange reflective safety vest or clothing with reflective stripes on the front, back, and sides. Anything that flashes is great. Sports stores sell flashing bands that wrap around your wrists and ankles. It’s also a good idea to avoid dark clothes. Wear white or other bright colors.
3. Be Weather Wise. When it’s raining, foggy, or misty, visibility is even worse than on a clear night. And wet or icy streets can be slippery. Wear shoes with soles that grip and stay well back from the street on wet nights.
4. Wear a Headlamp. They’re easy to find, they allow you to be spotted from further away, and hey, they help you see, too. What’s not to like?
5. Go in Groups. There’s safety in numbers, so recruit a walking partner or team up with a local walking group. If your schedule is too complicated for groups, find one running or walking buddy and set a schedule.
6. Be Bright. When walking or running near your work or home, choose broad, well-lit streets and paths. Avoid cutting through parks, parking lots, or narrow dim streets, even if it means going the long way around. If it feels brighter and safer and there’s no traffic, you can run along the edge of the street instead of on the sidewalk if you keep your eyes and ears open for cars and bikes.
7. Let Your Ears Hear. Leave the headphones at home when you exercise at night. You need to keep your ears clear so you can hear cars, bicycles, people, or dogs coming up behind you.
Gear up and be smart, and the short days of winter don’t have to dampen your enthusiasm for exercising.