Running near the road is the only option many people have. They don’t have nearby trail access, so their daily jog is simply through their neighborhood. They may stick to the sidewalks or run on the shoulder. 

Either way, they know that they’re facing some serious risks from running near traffic. If a driver makes a mistake and hits them, the driver will likely be fine, but the runner could be catastrophically injured or even killed. A split second can change someone’s life forever. 

So, how should runners stay safe when they have to share the road with motorists? Here are a few key tips that can help:

  • Seek out paths with lights if you have to run at dawn, at dusk or after dark. Choose roads with as many streetlights as possible and with well-lit intersections. 
  • Whenever you’re crossing in front of a car — at a crosswalk or a driveway, for instance — attempt to make eye contact with the driver to ensure that they have seen you. 
  • While running on the side of the road or the shoulder, always face the traffic head-on. 
  • Leave your headphones at home. They are a distraction. Even if they make running more enjoyable, they increase the odds of an accident. 
  • Wear clothes made with bright colors, reflective cloth and other visual markers. 
  • Tell someone where you’re going to run, when you’re leaving and when you expect to be back. 

Drivers often do not look for runners and make critical errors, even when runners use these tips. If you get injured, you may have a right to compensation for your medical bills and other costs.