Winter is around the corner and running in the dark becomes a common occurrence for most runners from now on. Take these precautions to protect yourself when you’re walking and running outside.

  1. Communicate. Never leave home without sending a text message or leaving a note for someone. Remember to add the time you left and a general idea of your intended route and distance.
  2. Identification. It’s a good idea to run with some sort of identification. You could wear a colourful armband — yellow is a great colour because it’s very easy for paramedics to identify.
  3. Visibility. Motorists are often distracted by their surroundings and might not see you immediately, so make sure you wear high-visibility clothing as well as reflective gear. Invest in a headlamp or an armband with a flashing light if you are running in the dark.
  4. Run towards the traffic.This is the legal way for pedestrians to run or walk on the road because it’s easier to see oncoming traffic and to move out of the way if need be. Motorists will see you more clearly, too.
  5. Move over. When running on very narrow roads, or in heavy traffic, it’s a good idea to hop onto the pavement or shoulder of the road.
  6. Turn it down. There’s much to be said about the benefits of training while listening to a pumping tune, but the cons outweigh the pros on this one. It’s impossible to hear an approaching car or even the warning shouts of those around you if your music is too loud. Rather turn it down, take one earpiece out or leave the music at home.
  7. Eyes on the hills. When driving over a crest, motorists might struggle to see if the sun is shining in their eyes. Be extra mindful of cars when running up a hill.
  8. Know your limits. If you’re still a novice runner, it’s not a good idea to attempt a 15km run in your first week, regardless of your good intentions. Run within your limits, know your limits and do what you feel comfortable with to avoid injury or even serious damage to your vital organs.
  9. Timing is everything. If you decide to go for a run either very early in the morning or late at night, keep in mind that drivers who are on the road at those times might not be at their most alert. Someone who just worked a 10-hour nightshift is probably not as attentive as someone who is on their way to work after a good night’s rest.
  10. Think car. As much as cars need to be considerate towards runners, runners also need to be considerate towards cars. Mind your manners, acknowledge a car politely if they give way to you and always be courteous. The road doesn’t belong to a single group, and is designed to be shared.