How To Avoid Injury As You Exercise Outside
OK, so I’m one of those crazy guys you see running around as I try to stay in shape and I was just asked what my biggest worry was — injuries? weather? dogs? No, it’s drivers. I’m careful and have fortunately never been struck by a car or truck. But many fellow runners, others on foot, and cyclists have not been so lucky.
I’m representing a man who was seriously injured when he was walking in a highly visible crosswalk in the Fort Worth Stockyards during the day and I did some research. The National Highway Traffic Safety Association (N.H.T.S.A.) reports that 4,743 pedestrians were killed and about 76,000 were injured in traffic-related accidents in 2011. This equals one pedestrian death every two hours and one pedestrian injury every seven minutes because of crashes. N.H.T.S.A. counts runners, joggers, walkers and others who are standing or sitting as pedestrians.
Take Steps to Avoid An Accident
Although drivers have a responsibility to look out for
pedestrians, you too have a responsibility to protect yourself from harm by following the traffic ordinances and taking simple safety measures when you run, including:
- Wear reflective clothing: Definitely at night, but even during the daytime, bright reflective clothing helps drivers see you more clearly.
- Run on sidewalks and trails whenever possible: I’m lucky to live and work near the Trinity Trail and saw that Dallas has a lot of good trails in the marathon I ran on Sunday.
- Obey traffic signals and signs: You are responsible for complying with the traffic rules.
- Cross the street at intersections and cross walks
- Proceed with caution at intersections and cross walks: Even if you have the right of way, still take precautions against distracted or careless motorists.
- Run single file if training in a group: Running two or three astride can block traffic and force motorists to come to close while passing you.
- Don’t wear earplugs: At least keep the volume low.
- Don’t engage in distracted running
- Know your running course: Recognize the blind spots in your running course that put you suddenly into traffic or where motorists are unable to see you.
Don’t assume you are clearly visible and obvious even if you should be to a driver who is paying attention. Runner’s World points out that a gadget-crazed driver may not see you because she or he is
looking at a cell phone keypad, a text message or a GPS. Expect the unexpected and be prepared to react at all times. Please be careful.