10 Safety Tips for Running in the Dark

With busy schedules and limited hours of daylight, some runners find their only time to run is in the darkness of early morning or evening. Running in daylight is always a safer choice, but if you have to run at night or in the early morning, make sure to follow these guidelines.


Always Run Against Traffic

Runner at night with city in background
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It's easier to avoid cars if you can see them coming. You want to be able to see the headlights of oncoming cars. Avoid busy roads and those with no shoulders or sidewalks.


Choose a Well-Lit Route

It might not be your favorite route to run, but the most well-lit route is your safest choice. Oncoming cars see you better, and you'll always be able to see the road and avoid potential hazards.


Be Visible

If you're running in the early morning or at night, even at dusk, wear white, yellow, or orange clothes. Also, make sure you are wearing reflective gear. Although some items (running shoes, jackets) already have reflective pieces on them, it doesn't hurt to add more. A headlamp is also a great item for runners who do a lot of early morning or evening runs.


Always Have Identification on You

Put your driver's license in your pocket or wear an ID tag on your shoe. Consider running with a Road iD shoe tag, which has your emergency contact information on it.


Vary Your Routes and Times

Potential attackers can study runners' routines and loom in a particularly dark or isolated area. Don't make yourself an easy target by always running the same route at the same time.


Run With a Buddy

There are strength and safety in numbers. If possible, try to never run alone. Look for running groups that run at night, if that's the best time for you to run. If you're running alone, let someone know the route you'll be running and approximately how long you will be out.


Carry a Cell Phone

You'll be able to contact police immediately if something happens to you or you notice anything out of the ordinary. Check out these great cell phone holders so you can easily carry your phone with you.


Watch out for Bikes and Runners

Even if you're running on a path or in a park with no cars, always be aware of other runners and cyclists. Before you stop or turn around, make sure your path is clear. This advice applies to running in both daylight and darkness.


Ditch Your Music

Try to avoid wearing headphones when running outdoors. Cutting off your sense of hearing leaves you at a disadvantage. You can't hear oncoming cars, cyclists yelling to move, dogs, or any other potential threat. If you absolutely have to run with music or some other distraction, keep the volume very low or run with one earbud out so you can still hear what's happening around you.


Follow Your Instincts

If you feel that you're entering an unsafe situation, trust your gut and run to a safe location. Call the police if you notice anything suspicious.

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  1. RunnersWorld.com. 11 Safety Tips for Running in the Dark. By Lori Adams. December 8, 2015. New York, New York: Runners World, Hearst Magazine Media Inc. 2020 https://www.runnersworld.com/runners-stories/a20858033/11-safety-tips-for-running-in-the-dark

  2. RoadiD. ID that looks great, lasts forever, and just might save your life. RoadiD 2020