One of the easiest and best ways to protect yourself while running, bicycling or walking on the road is to increase your visibility to drivers by wearing a safety light and reflective gear. Many drivers have difficulty seeing between dusk to dawn and during bad weather, but wearing a bright or blinking light or illuminated or reflective clothing helps motorists notice you during these low-light hours. Reduce your risk of being hit by a motorist while on the road be following these helpful tips.
Dress to Be Noticed
Make it easy for drivers to see you, especially if you are out on the road in the early morning hours when commuters in a hurry are do not expect to encounter people. Dress in light and bright colored clothing that reflects headlights; avoid wearing dark colors like black and navy.
Face Traffic if Walking…Ride with Traffic if Biking
If you are walking and your route has sidewalks, use them. If not, be sure to always face the oncoming traffic when walking or running so you can see and react to potential collisions. On the other hand, bicycles — which are considered “vehicles” in most states — should always ride with traffic and follow the same rules of the road as cars.
Increase Visibility with Reflective Clothing
Studies show that white clothing can only be seen at 275 feet from a vehicle with its headlights on low beams. This means that a driver traveling at 45 mph will require 675 feet to detect a person walking or biking on the road and perform (hopefully!) a successful evasive maneuver. So, in addition to dressing in light colored clothing, you should also wear reflective material on your shoes or body to increase your visibility to motorists.
Many of today’s athletic shoes and clothing come decorated with strips of reflective fluorescent material. Or, you can buy inexpensive reflective bands to wear around your arms or legs. These bands are great for bikers because they also keep pants from getting caught in the chain.
Wearing reflective gear with flashing LED lights will provide even more protection, either an armband with super bright LED lights or a reflective safety vest with flashing LED lights. Some of these vests have lights in the front and back and are visible from up to 2,500 feet away.
Further Improve Visibility by Wearing a Safety Light
Carrying a flashlight or wearing a flashing LED safety light on your body is an even better way to help drivers see you on the road, especially in the winter months when the sun is low in the sky and the daylight hours are limited. There are LED headlamps that you wear around your forehead or safety lights that attach to your clothing, backpack or bicycle.
Walk and Ride Defensively
Stay alert as you walk, jog or bike and follow the rules of the road. At the same time, recognize that you may be an unexpected obstacle to many drivers and be prepared to move or jump out of the way if a vehicle is coming too close. Leave potential distractions home, such as music players, cell phones and smart phones.
Pet Safety Lights Protect Pets
Pets out for a stroll need protection too. There are special safety lights for dogs, like the Puplight that slides or clips onto your pet’s collar to make both of you more visible in the dark. An illuminated dog collar with LED lights is another way to call attention to your pet at nighttime.
The best ways to protect yourself (and your pet) while running, walking or cycling on the road at night is to use common sense, obey the traffic laws and to wear clothing and outdoor safety gear — like safety lights and reflective clothing — that will increase your visibility and make it easier for drivers to see your from a distance.