You’re finishing your final mile when a distracted driver rounds the bend. Do you have the proper running gear to prevent your morning jog from becoming a tragedy? In 2018, 6,283 pedestrians were killed in traffic crashes—a more than 3% increase and the most deaths since 1990. That includes everyone on foot—from runners to hikers to walkers. In order to keep yourself safe while exercising outdoors, we’ve found the best medical ID bracelets, lights, and reflective gear for runners. Take a look to see how you can improve your safety while you’re running on the road.
Safety Gear For Runners
247 Viz Reflective Running Vest
People will see you coming when you wear this lightweight safety vest—up to a thousand feet away. The vest itself is neon color made of breathable mesh with reinforced reflective strips which makes it more visible to drivers too. Runners, walkers, and bikers can enjoy the safety that this lightweight, adjustable vest brings to your exercise routine.
Nathan Light Spur
Most sneakers come with reflective elements. However, you can enhance your visibility and improve your safety with these LED shoe spurs. Designed to clip onto your heel, these spurs fit runners of all sizes and can be worn for night running. You can set the LED lights to blink like a strobe light or maintain a solid light. Don’t shy away from wearing these in wet weather. The engineering includes waterproofing.
If you are hurt while running, will people be able to identify you? A medical armband or bracelet addresses this issue. With Road ID, you can get a custom, engraved bracelet with your name, address, phone number, and emergency contact. That way, if you’re unconscious and need to go to the hospital, doctors and EMTs can get the information they need to alert your loved ones. It’s also a permanent design, so it won’t get crumpled or damaged like paper versions.
BSEEN LED Armbands
Maintain your visibility while you run with these VelcroTM arm and leg bands. For the best results, you should wear one on each extremity, since you never know which direction a car will come from. With four bands, you’ll be visible from one half mile away. With one, that will decrease to one quarter mile. Made of waterproof yet washable material, this is a durable and convenient safety option for runners
PETZL REACTIK Headlamp
If you already have reflective gear on your body, don’t forget about your head. The Petzl Reaktik headlamp will not only make you obvious to drivers, but it will light your way too. It’s also very advanced. This particular model comes with “reactive lighting,” so it’ll adjust its beam to accommodate ambient light. It’s some of the best night running gear you can incorporate for enhanced safety.
Zephyr Fire 300 Hand Torch
Light your way with the Zephyr Fire 300 hand torch. You can slip it over your wrist for a grip-free mount and allow its angled light to illuminate the path in front of you. Unlike other reflective vests and lights, this torch has a built-in siren you can sound if you get into trouble. While it doesn’t have the reach of other devices, it makes up for it in brightness.
Safe running tips
Now that you know about the best safety products out there for runners, you should freshen up on tips too.
- Don’t blast your music.
Being able to hear your surroundings is important while you’re running. If your headphones are blasting, you won’t hear a car swerving toward you or someone sneaking up from behind. From 2004 to 2011, the amount of pedestrians seriously injured while wearing headphones went up 300%. Of those hurt, 70% were killed. If you have to listen to music while you exercise, try keeping one earbud out, or keep volumes low enough so you can hear what’s happening around you.
- Tell someone where you’re going.
No matter if you’re running around the neighborhood or on a mountain trail, you should tell someone where you’re going. If you don’t come back, they’ll know to alert the authorities or go looking for you. Whether you don’t come back because you sprained an ankle or something worse, you’ll want someone to know where you are so they can help.
- Wear Safety Devices.
It takes an average person traveling 55 mph on a dry, sunny day 279.5 feet to come to a complete stop after seeing something in the road. Compound that with darkness, bad weather, or a distracted driver and it can take even longer. Since most reflective devices give you at least 300 feet of visibility, you can help drivers see you earlier to avoid a terrible accident. Make sure you wear some sort of reflective or light-up gear to keep yourself safer while running.
- Wear Reflective Clothing Too.
If you’re running at night, don’t do it in all black. If you can, incorporate reflective pieces to complement your LED vests and other running safety gear. Choose bright colors that will easily be spotted in the headlights of cars. While less is more in some cases, it’s not when it comes to safety.
Running is a great activity that can blow off stress and help keep you healthy. Just make sure you do it with the proper safety gear. Reflective vests and medical IDs can alert drivers of your presence on the road and get you help if you ever need it.
Are you an avid runner? Share your safety tips in the comments section below.