When we face decisions, do we consistently lean safely away from danger(s) that we may encounter? Some decisions are easier than others. For example: in the summer–to carry water or not, to wear a headlamp when running in the dark or not. But others might lead to some inconsistency: do we wear dark clothing/gear while running in the darkness which lacks bright reflective characteristics? I’m one of those people who likes to wear darker colors sometimes and I’ve been trying to update my brightness and reflectiveness to keep those clothes/gear safer. Also, some shoes have special brightness and reflectiveness, others lack it (not being designed for running in the darkness). Sometimes I wear safety yellow simply to be safer even though it’s not my favorite color.
When we face safety decisions, we should always keep our emphasis on the side of safety for ourselves, our families, and our friends. I’m going to distinguish this from our “comfort zone” as athletes, that’s a whole different area that we have to conquer in order to break through fitness plateaus. I’m not talking about the comfort zone here.
One thing that we run into with runs before dawn or after dark is streetlights being out due to bulbs burning out. This will happen every once in a while so be cautious and make sure you have adequate lighting to work around that when you run, bike, or exercise near these spots.
Recently, I have focused a lot on making sure that I can be seen from behind, making sure my gear/clothing either reflects, is bright, or has Brilliant Reflective strips on it (or some combo of these). But lately, I’ve had to return to the front to be sure that my clothes/gear can be seen from the front and the sides too. So I added some Brilliant Reflective tape to my Orange Mud single hydra vest seen above and below to match the tape that I had previously applied to the back.
Another easy way to make sure you can be seen better on the road is to wear bright/reflective neon socks (especially the neon yellow is particularly bright). If you wear bright yellow long compression socks, you can be seen more easily.
It’s not a bad idea to check every once in a while with a flash camera to safety audit all your clothes and gear, including shoes to make sure that they still reflect. And if not, perform a safety tune-up by adding a strip of Brilliant Reflective tape here or there. Make sure the tape is applied well and located well so that you can be seen not only while still, but while moving (usually we are moving a little more than standing still). So I like the diagonal applications on vests and shirts. I might have to apply some Brilliant Reflective soon to my arm sleeves. Will be checking that soon.
A simple way to improve your safety: wear a Road ID with your identifying info on it (mine has a reflective strip). Tell your family/friends where you are running and when you will return. Keep track of all running hazards in your area and avoid them: warn friends/family to avoid these hazards too (broken pavement, construction zones, etc.).
It’s the little decisions we make day-to-day that can keep us safe from danger as much as possible. And many of these decisions could save our lives and the lives of others.
Please be safe. Lean safely away from danger. If we do this consistently, we will minimize the risk of injuries and be happier runners and athletes. Thanks for listening. Happy trails!