With the limited hours of daylight we have now, some runners find their only time to run is in the darkness of early morning or evening. Running in daylight is always a safer choice, but if you have to run at night or in the early morning, make sure to follow these guidelines.

1. Always Run Against Traffic
If you’re running on roads, make sure you are facing the traffic (left side of the road). It’s easier to avoid cars if you can see them coming. Avoid busy roads and those with no shoulders or sidewalks.

2. Be Visible
Make sure other runners and vehicles can see you. Wear bright and reflective clothing (white, yellow, or orange) and a reflective vest. Invest in a head lamp or hands-free light.

3. Choose a Well-lit Route
Rethink your run route if you’re used to running on trails. Although it’s nice and peaceful while running on trails, it can be unsafe in the dark. Stick to busier roads and well lit areas. Oncoming cars see you better, and you’ll always be able to see the road and avoid potential hazards.

4. Run With a Friend
If possible, try to never run alone. Running with someone else drastically reduces the chance of someone accosting you. You’ll have a buddy to keep you motivated and an extra set of eyes, and ears, to stay on the lookout for anything strange. If you’re running alone, let someone know the route you’re running and approximately how long you will be out.

5. Vary Your Routes and Times
Potential attackers can study runners’ routines and loom in a particularly dark or isolated area. Don’t make yourself an easy target.

6. Carry a Cell Phone and ID
It’s even more important to carry your phone (make sure it’s charged) and some form of ID. Obviously we don’t want the worst to happen, but if you do get injured, it’s good if you have identification and can call for help. Put your driver’s license in your pocket or wear an ID tag on your shoe.

7. Run without Music
You may miss your tunes, but when running in the dark, you need to rely on all your senses, not just your sight. Leave the music at home so you can hear any potential dangers.

8. Follow your instincts.
If you feel that you’re entering an unsafe situation, trust your gut and run to a safe location.


Paula Smith, ACE CPT