Stay Safe.

Running Safety and Etiquette

Running safety and practicing good running etiquette is extremely important. When you run outdoors, and especially if you are running by yourself in the early hours of the morning or late evening hours, when it is still partially dark, remember these important guidelines:

  • In the absence of sidewalks, always run on the left side of the road, facing traffic. It's safer to see the cars coming closest to you than have them coming at your back. When approaching another runner, pass to the left and give an audible "on your left" warning so they know you are coming up from behind.
  • It's typically safer to run without headphones. In fact, many races prohibit headphones (check the race website for the rules) so it's best to have the confidence that you can complete a run without your music. If you must run with headphones, keep the volume down and/or run with one earphone in and the other out so you can be aware of your surroundings and hear any approaching runners, cars or emergency vehicles. Remember there is no running with headphones in our program or on our fun runs.
  • Bring ID and a cell phone with you on your runs. You can carry these in my favorite accessory, a SpiBelt (available at the store); some hydration systems also have pockets for phone and ID. You can also get a RoadID (, a wrist band or shoe tag with your identifying information, emergency contacts, medical information, etc. Also make sure someone knows your running route and when you expect to be back.
  • Remember to make sure you are visible to traffic, especially if you are running in the pre-dawn or post-dusk hours. Wear light, reflective clothing and reflective accessories like a running vest, light-up arm band, etc. Many athletic clothing manufacturers make running apparel with reflective properties built right into the clothing.
  • Always assume that cars do NOT see you, and that they will NOT act rationally. Make eye contact with drivers before crossing in front of them or cross behind the vehicle. Obey all traffic signals and signs and don't try to cross an intersection against a light or rush to make it through a light that is changing. 

    REMEMBER: Better safe than sorry!

Karen Craney
Training Program Coordinator
RRCA Certified Coach
Fleet Feet Sports Certified Coach
Fleet Feet Sports, Gaithersburg, MD

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