- Jenn Gill
Fall is an awesome time of the year! The air turns crisp and cool and being outside is so enjoyable. And the arrival of fall generally means one thing for runners: the days are getting shorter. It's time to face the facts that you will most likely be running in the dark at some point. Whether you run in the morning or at night, it is more important than ever to stay safe when running outside in the dark.
Wearing reflective gear is the top priority when running in the dark. Items such as vests, flashlights, blinking lights, reflective strips, arm bands, etc. are no guarantee at safety, but they are your best tools for drivers to see you as you run. The Brooks Night Life line includes tons of brightly colored apparel items and are the first thing the eyes see and will help you get noticed by drivers more so than just lightly -colored clothing. They also include plenty of reflective materials (on front and back) that will be illuminated when light hits it.
Wearing reflective gear on your arms, legs and feet, rather than just on your torso or head is also important since drivers are more likely to see the reflective or glowing light when it's in motion. Things you can wear are reflective bands you can place on your arms and legs. Look for a vest that has full coverage on the front and back so you have 360 degree reflectivity. There's also the smaller non-vest version that allows you to get the reflectivity and wear it over bulkier items such as jackets. Whatever you wear, any reflective gear, worn anywhere on the body is always better than no reflective gear at all.
Many of the latest apparel items include blinking lights built-in to the item, but if you're apparel is tech savvy, there are also blinking lights that can be purchased and added anywhere on your arms, shirts or hats.
Some other important tips to keep in mind when hitting the streets in the dark:
1. DON'T WEAR HEADPHONES. Wearing headphones reduces your ability to hear a car, a voice, a dog or even a potential attacker. You also tend to tune out your surroundings when listening to music, even when at low volume. You need to be able to pay attention as much as possible when running in the dark.
2. DON'T WEAR DARK COLORS. White, orange and yellow running apparel are the easiest to see at night. Black, brown, blues and greens blend into the night and are difficult for drivers to see. If you have no other options than wearing dark clothing, be sure to cover yourself in reflective material (vest, reflective lights, etc.)
3. WEAR A BILLED CAP & CLEAR GLASSES. The bill of a cap will hit an unseen tree branch or another obstacle before the obstacle hits your head. Clear glasses, such as the ones from Tifosi, will protect your eyes from unseen objects and are especially hand when it rains. Anyone that has run into a tree branch can attest to the importance of these items!
4. THINK ABOUT WEARING A HEADLAMP. Headlamps and flashlights ar light and small and can illuminate the dark street in front of you. We have an excellent assortment of lights - just ask and we'll help you find the right choice for you.
5. CELL PHONE/ID. Always carry a cell phone and ID - including emergency contact information. SpiBelts, FlipBelts and other options are available for carrying this information and keeping it secure and out of your way while running.
6. RUN WITH A PARTNER. Another runner may spot a car or hear something strange before you. Plus, attackers are less likely to approach a group of runners.
7. RUN AGAINST TRAFFIC. It is easier to avoid traffic if you can see it and it is easier for oncoming traffic to prepare to move around you when running towards them.
8. RUN BEHIND VEHICLES AT INTERSECTIONS. Even if a car has stopped at a stop sign, there's no guarantee the driver has seen you.
9. MAKE EYE CONTACT! The interaction could be the difference between having an enjoyable run and one that ends in tragedy. Make eye contact with drivers and be sure they acknowledge you before heading out into an intersection or crosswalk.