Do you jog to keep healthy? Good for you! Exercise is good for your health but please don’t let it kill you. Let me explain.
I live in a rural area with few street lights and no sidewalks. Some mornings I drive almost 4 miles before I encounter another car but I rarely go more than a couple miles before I encounter a biker or a jogger. Here’s the problem… it’s dark and with no sidewalks I’m often almost on top of the jogger before I see him or her. I’ve taken to carrying hi-viz safety vests in my car and stop and give them to joggers who aren’t visible enough.
Joggers don’t realize how hard they are to spot, especially when you’re going about 45 mph. So here are a few safety tips for you if you jog, bike or walk your dog, especially when it’s still dark out.
1. As already noted, please wear bright clothing with reflective stripes. You may not want to wear it any other time but making sure that you are highly visible when it’s dark out could possibly save your life. There are all kinds of hi-vis clothing available. Jackets, hoodies, sweatshirts, T-shirts, pants, vests, coats are all available in hi-vis with reflective stripping. Even if all you wear is a inexpensive safety vest (here’s one for $6.23) drivers will be able to spot you a long way off rather than when they are almost on top of you.
2. If possible, wear a small flashlight. There are inexpensive LED lights that burn for hours that will make sure that drivers see you a long ways off.
3. I know that you love your “Chariots of Fire” or “Rocky” music to inspire you while you jog but if you absolutely must wear your Ipod, please only put one earpiece in. Being able to hear cars, horns and other traffic sounds around you is absolutely essential so one earbud and keep the volume down.
4. Run against traffic so you can see who’s coming and be on the alert. Think defensively. Be prepared and assume that the vehicle isn’t going to see you. Get out of the way as much as possible and prepare to jump out of the way if necessary.
5. Always carry identification on you along with any medical information that might be needed in case you are in an accident. This includes blood type, allergies, medical conditions, etc…
6. If possible, jog with someone else. Two together are safer than a lone, isolated jogger.
7. If you must jog alone, make sure that someone else knows when you’re leaving, what your route is and when you’ll be back.
Staying healthy by jogging does you no good if you end up in the hospital with broken bones and cuts. It does you even less good if you end up in the morgue so please make sure that you get your exercise safely.