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Safety Tips for Runners and Walkers – Look Out For Vehicle Traffic!

- September 12, 2018 by Terio Duran (View all posts by Terio)

So you’re a runner and walker? So am I! What a great exercise to help burn calories and relieve stress!

Many companies encourage walking during breaks and lunchtime to promote employee wellness, but even a leisurely walk can be dangerous when walking in areas with traffic. Distracted drivers have never been more prevalent, especially with today’s high use of smartphone devices.

The following are a few safety tips that can help keep everyone safe from moving vehicle traffic:

  1. Use a lime green or bright orange high visibility shirt. Not the prettiest of colors but they will make you stand out and make it easier for drivers to quickly see you.
  2. Walk and/or run on the sidewalk, not on the street. This will minimize the possibility of being struck by a moving vehicle.
  3. If you have to walk and/or run on the street, always try to run against traffic. When running against traffic, remember to take extra caution at intersections. Right before you’re about to run across an intersection, quickly look to your left and right for drivers making turns in your direction.  If you encounter a vehicle at an intersection, wave the driver through or use visual eye contact and let them wave you through.
  4. Try to do your activity during daylight hours. If you have to run at night, stay on the side walk, in well-lit areas and make sure to wear high visibility clothing and reflective gear.
  5. Carry identification with you at all times so that you have it in the event of an emergency.
  6. Look both ways when crossing intersections. Don’t just look for traffic moving in front of you; be aware of traffic moving in from your left or right sides.
  7. Keep your volume low if you’re listening to music, so you can hear approaching traffic. However, if you’re like me, you might prefer your volume on the high side, to get motivated.  When I have my volume on high, I like to alternate ear plugs between each ear.  For example if I’m running with traffic on my right side I put the ear plug in my left ear only, this way my right ear can clearly hear approaching traffic.  Vice versa, if I’m running with traffic on my left side.
  8. Don’t wear head apparel that might block your peripheral vision such as hoodies, floppy hats or sun glasses.
  9. When crossing streets, always use crosswalks. Even when the light turns green for you, or a car has stopped at a stop sign, don’t assume the driver sees you.  Try to make eye contact with the driver before proceeding.
  10. Don’t assume you’re safe just because you’re walking/running through a crosswalk. Be aware of your surroundings and be ready to react in the event a vehicle fails to stop.
  11. Take extra care if you’re running around blind curves, corners, or large parked vehicles. Proceed with caution given there could be a driver that doesn’t know you’re just around the corner.
  12. Watch out for vehicles that are backing up out of driveways or parking spaces, especially if you’re running through residential areas or parking lots.
  13. Remember to use all your senses when running outdoors. Look, listen, and feel for approaching traffic!

If you run or walk outdoors or if your employees take walks during their breaks, safety should always be at top of mind when walking near traffic.

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