Stay Safe While Running in the Dark

Run Safer For Longer

Visibility Week is here - Stay safe while running in the dark!

October 30, 2019 / Spencer Beatty / No Comments

Now that it’s (definitely) fall, the folks at Playmakers are certainly not encouraging you stay in and hibernate until the spring … just the opposite in fact! It’s the perfect time to get out and get active. However, it is important to make sure that everyone in our community is taking precautions to exercise in the safest way possible, especially this time of year!

Fall brings a plethora of great things; apple cider, pumpkin flavored everything, spooky costumes, Great Lakes Surfing (yes that’s a thing!), Thanksgiving and the cooler, yet, manageable temperatures that are ideal to get out and exercise. Fall also means shorter days and less sunlight. Michigan fall brings an end to daylight savings which also attributes to running or walking in the dark.

November is National Run Safety Month. At Playmakers, we want to bring as much awareness as possible to our community that runners and walkers are exercising in the dark and NEED to be seen! Run Safety Month is not only about taking individual responsibility to be visible, but also about raising motorist’s awareness that people are out-and-about in the dark. 

Each year, 4000 pedestrians are killed in the United States due to car related injuries. Of those deaths, 70% of them occur between the hours of 6pm and 6am. This time period (hours that are typically dark during this part of the year) is the biggest contributing factor to pedestrian related fatalities. 

Here are some general tips that can help increase your visibility:

  • Wear as bright of colors as possible 
    • Avoid black or at least make sure that it isn’t the only color that you have on. 
  • Incorporate both active and passive visibility 
    • Passive visibility is any reflective material that requires a light to be on it for you to be seen.
    • Active visibility is a flashlight, blinking light, head lamp or etc. that can be seen without any light source being shined on it. Active light helps you not only to be seen but also can help you to see. 
    • Using both active and passive visibility allows you to be seen 6X further than using just passive alone.
  • Incorporate 360° of visibility with multiple points
    • Try to make sure you have active and passive light that can be seen from front, back and both sides of your body.
    • Try to place active and passive light at parts of your body that are moving (bicep, legs, feet, etc.)
      • Movement draws more attention and catches motorists eye.
      • This allows motorists to perceive you as a runner or walker and not as a street light. 

Use the tips above to improve your visibility but also remember that runners and walkers should run against traffic. This allows you to respond to a car that may be veering off the road. Run defensively; make sure that you are ready to react. Our awareness should be especially high when running through an intersection and at dusk; it’s a common misconception that these tips only applying to darkness, but visibility can be even worse at dusk. Other important tips include not wearing headphones, wear an ID, tell someone you’re going on a run or walk, exercise with a friend, take your phone, know your route, and constantly examine your surroundings. During November’s National Run Safety Month, we want to help promote better awareness for pedestrians and motorists in our community. Stop into Playmakers for a free light and visibility tip sheet the November 1-8 with any athletic shoe purchase.  Stay safe and enjoy exercising this fall!

Spencer Beatty

Spencer Beatty ran cross country / track & field at Michigan Sate University and is full time at Playmakers as a Team-Leader, Good Form Running Coach and is a member of the education team. He loves his family time with his wife Carlie, 3yr old daughter Eloise and 5 month old son Sterling. Aside from trying to run as much as possible and help others with their running in his busy stage of life, he also has a passion for surfing on the Great Lakes.

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