The month of November is National Running Safety Month. And while exercise is important for overall health and well-being, it is even more important to practice safety while running outdoors.
Runners should practice “defensive running” in the same manner as defensive driving. Defensive runners should be on the lookout for oncoming traffic and distracted drivers, make eye contact with the driver and never assume the right of way. Drivers should take particular care to follow the rules of the road, the posted speed limit and reduce their speed when sharing the road with runners.
With the arrival of Daylight Saving Time we have all felt the change. It is dark before most of us even leave the office. Fall is the perfect running weather, but it is not always the best visibility weather.
A recent study reported that approximately 122,000 runners get hit by cars and are hospitalized every year. This does not include the numerous runners who are hit by vehicles and suffer minor injuries that do not require hospitalization. Around 5,300 pedestrians die in accidents involving vehicles each year, according to a report by Transportation for America.
Our Miami Personal Injury Attorneys, some of us avid runners, would like to offer you some important running safety tips in honor of National Running Safety Month:
Make Sure Drivers Can See You
One of the best tips that we can give runners is to make sure you are wearing clothing that allows you to be seen easily by drivers. Wear clothes that are bright and include reflective elements on your clothing, especially during the early morning hours and at night. Bright colors and having reflective tape on your clothing and shoes is advisable.
Run Against the Flow of Traffic
Another helpful tip is to make sure that you are running against the flow of traffic. What this means is you will be running in the direction the cars are driving. Bicyclists are told to ride with the flow of traffic, but runners and walkers are always recommended to go against the flow of traffic so that you can see what is coming your way giving you time to react, instead of being struck unknowingly from behind.
Follow the Rules of the Road
Always use crosswalks if they are available, and signal clearly to other cars around you which direction you will be going.
Florida law imposes a duty on pedestrians. Pedestrians are required to follow the laws when walking on or crossing the street. Breaking these laws, for instance by disobeying a walk signal, can result in the pedestrian’s being held accountable, or partly liable, for an accident. When the driver of a car can show that a pedestrian violated one of the laws or rules of sharing the road, it becomes extremely difficult for the pedestrian to press criminal charges or obtain civil damages related to the Florida pedestrian accident.
Be Prepared for the Unexpected
We always recommend that you keep an emergency ID on you, as well as your phone, when going for a run. No matter how safe you are while out running, you never know what could happen. If something does happen, and you are rushed to a hospital, having an emergency ID can help others who are trying to reach someone on your behalf. The emergency ID needs to have more than just the information on a driver’s license. It needs to have your name, any medical information that needs to be conveyed and emergency contact information. It is better to be safe than sorry, and this preparation can go a long way in the event you are struck by a vehicle while running.
Be Aware of Your Surroundings
Many runners like to listen to music while running but having head phones or ear buds in your ears means you may not be aware of others around you. You can still listen to your music but be sure that it is at a low enough volume that you can hear other cars or anything else through your head phones. Also, look around you while you are running to be sure you are aware of all upcoming hazards before it is too late.
Stay in the Light
It is also recommended you stay on running paths that are well-lit. This tip is for your general safety, as well as for those who are around you in the event they do not easily see you. If you are running in an area that is not well-lit or if you have to run during darker hours, be sure you run with someone else, so you are not alone. Safety in numbers is always a good tip, especially for long distance runners who run during the early morning or evening hours.
Let Someone Know Where You Will Be
Lastly, before hitting the road, it is always best to let someone else know where you will be in the event you do get hurt and need assistance. It helps if that someone is an individual in your home or someone who regularly sees you. If you do not come home in a reasonable time period, this will alert the other person to look for you and hopefully get you assistance as quickly as possible.
Most incidents of people hit by cars while running, jogging, skating or just walking on the street are avoidable accidents in Florida. Our Miami pedestrian accident law firm urges to you never talk on cellphones or text while trying to cross a road as it may prevent you from hearing or seeing an approaching car, truck or bus.
INJURED IN A PEDESTRIAN-RELATED CAR ACCIDENT? SPEAK TO AN EXPERIENCED PEDESTRIAN ACCIDENT LAWYER TODAY: 1-866-597-4529.
For over 25 years, our firm has represented families of people injured and killed across the State of Florida in pedestrian accidents. If you have been involved in a traffic accident in Florida while operating a vehicle or crossing the street, call Aronfeld Trial Lawyers for a free initial consultation regarding your legal rights as an accident victim.