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According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, about 40 percent of all crashes involving pedestrians occur at intersections, and more than half of all fatal pedestrian crashes occur at night, between the hours of 6 p.m. and midnight.
If you’re among the many who take to the streets for a run or walk after hours, make sure you keep safety in mind. Here are some tips to help avoid being just another nighttime statistic.
Nighttime Running and Walking Safety Tips
Try to run or walk in well-lit areas. At crosswalks where the lighting intensity has been increased, two studies found that crashes decreased by more than half.
Always wear reflective clothing. This ensures that others can see you clearly at night and reduces your chances of being hit.
Carry a light, durable flashlight with a strap or wear a headlamp. Make sure it is in good working order with fresh batteries. This will not only aid you in seeing your way, but will help increase your visibility to others.
Run with a buddy. This increases the chance you’ll be seen and allows for help in case of emergency.
Stay on the sidewalk and always use the crosswalk at night. Avoid areas where you would be forced to run in the roadway.
Never wear a headset when running or walking at night. One shouldn’t be used during the day either, but most especially shouldn’t be used at night when it is crucial that you use all available tools and senses to remain well aware of your surroundings.
Always walk or run facing traffic.
Make eye contact with drivers at intersections, prior to crossing the street.
Bring a cell phone or whistle in case of emergency.
Be aware of your surroundings, keeping alert and tuned in to what is happening around you.
Always carry identification with you when you leave the house or write your name, telephone number and blood type on the inside tongue of your running shoe.
Darkness can hide many obstacles and threaten your safety – not just in terms of motorists. Traveling on a well-lit path or making sure you have a light can keep you from tripping, falling or crashing into something in the dark. Remember, staying aware and prepared for the possible dangers that lie ahead is the best way to avoid an accident and stay safe. If something should happen, keep calm, use the tools you’ve taken with you to obtain help, and take care of yourself until help arrives.