Saturday, November 21, 2009

Wear Reflective Gear when you Run in the Dark

ORN:  7 miles total, 5 x 1 mile intervals, average 8:15/mile
Another gorgeous fall Saturday on which to run.  Sunshine, 53 degrees, no wind...I'll need to remember this during February. 
The schedule called for mile repeats, a workout I am coming to enjoy.  Times were solid; 8:16, 8:12, 8:21, 8:16 and 8:08.  Technique felt smooth. 
But that's not what I wanted to write about.
I left work on Thursday a bit after 6:00pm.  The sun goes down just a little after 5pm these days, so it was fully dark by the time I was driving home.  My favorite running trail crosses the street along the way.  As I drove, my mind still on a couple of vexing issues from the work day, I suddently saw a runner, in the street, crossing right in front of me.  I hit the brakes and nothing happened.  But it was way too close; I was truly rattled.
Why didn't I see the runner?  It was dark.  And when I finally saw the runner, all I saw was dark shorts, dark shirt and a pony tail.  She was virtually invisible.  Nothing to reflect my headlights. 
Don't do this.  Be responsible for your own safety.  During the long winter, many of us do most of our running during dark hours before or after work.  Here's some simple ways to be reflective. 
Pass this on to other runners or your local running clubs. 
Please be safe as you persevere. 


Bob A said...

Absolutely! Good post and can't be said too many times. When I run in the dark (pre-dawn for me) and depending on lighting conditions, I wear a reflective vest, a wrist Road ID with a bright blue blinking light, and an LED light clipped to the visor of my running cap.

There was a lady who ran in my Richmond neighbourhood who ran at the same time I did. She wore black and no reflective gear or lights. Her hair was even black. There were times when I would come up behind her and not even see her until I was only 10-15 yards behind her. Not good.

Pat said...

Good post. But, I think the best advice is to always run behind cars. I may not always be in the cross walk, but I've never heard of a runner getting back into.

Of course, this is easier if you're a slow runner like me.

Sarah said...

Glad your close call was just that and nothing worse!

Thanks for the reminder. It's so easy to forget that cars can't always see us even if we can see them. I always wear my reflective gear in the dark, but am even more careful now that we're running in the evenings when there are more cars out.

Backofpack said...

I'm totally with you - I light up like a Christmas tree when a car headlight spots me. Reflective highlights on my gear, also a reflective zinglet and a headlamp. I know someone who used to run all in black on purpose - kept her "stealth" and feeling safe because no bad guys could see her. Of course, neither could cars...

Darrell said...

Very sage advice. I'm glad your own particular incident was "only" a close call.

Greg said...

Recently I saw the light on this matter. I was at about the 3rd hour of a long run early in the morning, when a car drove right up in front of me and just STOPPED. Window rolled down and the guy said he'd almost run me over a while before, and could I make myself more visible in the future? I actually argued the point, because I had a headlamp, reflective waist belt on my fanny pack, reflective gloves, a reflective headband, AND reflective shoes.

On the way home though, I got to thinking, the only person affected by it would be me. It was my own safety that was the problem. The next day I bought a reflective vest and flashing red light.

I feel like a mobile car lot with lights shining everywhere, but at least I know I'm safe.

Wes said...

no kiddin Joe. It takes but a second to ruin a lifetime :-(