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How Do I Safely Run at Night?

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  • Written By: Angela Farrer
  • Edited By: W. Everett
  • Last Modified Date: 25 November 2016
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While running at night is generally not the safest practice, particularly for women, taking some precautionary measures can help you reduce the risks associated with going for a run at night. Wearing reflective clothing, jogging in a familiar and well-lit area with even ground, and taking along your own lighting device can make it easier for you to see any possible hazards and for oncoming vehicles to see you. Some of the most common accidents involving night joggers are usually vehicle collisions due to poor visibility. Running with a partner is also safer than running alone, and experienced joggers often recommend taking along a cell phone and letting someone else know your route if you decide to go for a solo run at night.

Reflective vests, running pants, and jackets specially designed for night runners are available at most sporting goods stores. These usually come in bright fluorescent colors such as yellow, orange, or green that can be easily visible when any light strikes them. Running against the flow of car traffic along the side of a road will ensure that drivers will clearly see you once their headlights hit the reflective fabric on your night jogging clothes. Making brief eye contact with vehicle drivers will also increase the likelihood that they will see you and give you plenty of room to continue on your run at night safely.

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Going for a run at night is also generally safer when you select a relatively flat and well-maintained jogging path. Trails with slopes and switchbacks are usually not the best choices for night running because it can be easy to miss tripping hazards such as rocks, tree roots, and sudden grade changes. Since carrying a regular flashlight in your hand can be awkward while running, a convenient alternative is a small battery-powered headlamp that fits around your head with an elastic band and provides a clear view of the path directly in front of you.

Vigilance is one of the most important safety measures while taking a run at night. Leaving your portable music player and headphones at home will allow you to hear any noises that could possibly mean trouble. This practice will also help you stay alert of your surroundings in every direction. To avoid possible attackers while running, plan a few different routes for jogging safely at night and vary each of them from one evening to the next.

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