Last Updated on October 5, 2016 by Jeff
Walking can be an extremely relaxing, healthy, and enjoyable activity. Unfortunately, vehicle traffic (and even crime) can make it dangerous to do on the roads. From pretending you’re invisible to investing in some reflective gear, here are some helpful rules and tips you need to follow to make sure you avoid any serious injuries.
*Note, many of these tips also apply to running so if you also enjoy a jog then you can implement these as well.
1. Walk Against Traffic
First off, you should walk against the stream of traffic if there are no specific walking routes, bike paths, or sidewalks. This allows cars to see you from a distance and more importantly allows you to see cars as well. Walking in the dark can be dangerous with cars on the road so this way you’ll be able to see the cars headlights coming towards you and they’ll be able to see your reflective vest or jacket (assuming you’ve got yours on, which you should).
2. Be Seen to Be Safe
This brings us on to the next tip which is to wear appropriate clothing. Bright, reflective clothing is best so that headlights reflect off of them to alert drivers and cyclists as to where you are. Carrying a flashlight when it’s dark is also a must as cyclists don’t have headlights so if they’re riding on the pavement they won’t be able to see you. You can also get headlamps as well if you want to keep your hands free. Suddenly those bright leg warmers and head gear from the 80s doesn’t seem like such a bad idea.
Get Some Reflective Gear
A good step toward night walking safety is to invest in some reflective gear. Even some running shoes nowadays have reflective strips on the heels and a lot of tracksuits have reflective stripes. If not, you can always purchase reflective strips online to stick on to your clothing, shoes, or backpack. You can also find reflective vests and reflective belts now which are very useful and comfortable. Avoid all dark clothing that’s black, blue, or navy as you’ll blend into the darkness. A white t-shirt is better than nothing. Drivers and cyclists out in the morning or late at night won’t be on the lookout for walkers so you have to do as much as possible to make yourself visible.
3. Bring a Friend
Walking with a partner is also good way to increase your visibility as you’ll take up more space. This will not only make your training more safe but also more enjoyable. If you don’t have a partner then at least let someone know your walking route and how long you’re expecting to be gone for so that if you’re gone for an unusually long amount of time then they can take appropriate action.
4. You Can’t See Me
One weird trick is to pretend that you’re invisible. If you act as though everyone else can’t see you then you’ll do everything you can to avoid incident. You need to assume that other people can’t see you opposed to assuming cyclists and motorists know exactly where you are at all times. Keep an eye on your surroundings and stay alert. If you’re listening to music then turn it down so as not to distract you from what’s going on around you. Taking one ear phone out is also a good idea. This doesn’t mean to not listen to music at all as it can be extremely motivational and entertaining. Simply keep it at a suitable level or even consider listening to podcasts which make it easier to hear other things going on.
5. Be Aware of Danger Zones
If you’re walking late at night then be sure to avoid problem areas such as places densely populated with bars, clubs, or restaurants. These places can accumulate a lot of high-risk drivers due to the amount of drugs and alcohol present.
Additionally, any areas that become busy when it’s rush hour are wise to avoid at these times. Instead, take a more scenic route with less cars and motorists.
Late at night and in the morning are particularly dangerous times to be out as drivers and cyclists can be tired and therefore not be concentrating properly. Watch out if you do have to go out at these times as overtired drivers and cyclists are a real hazard.
6. Get Loud
Make sure to carry some form of noise maker. Whistles, alarms, and beepers are all great for alerting anyone in your vicinity of an attack if the circumstance so happens. You can now buy certain devices that will make a particularly loud noise for a certain amount of time once pushed. This means that the attacker has no way of stopping the noise and anyone within hearing distance should come to your aid. These devices can be easily attached to your keys or be worn as a bracelet or necklace and can be purchased from stores such as Amazon online.
Walking is a great way to keep fit and mobile at all ages. Just remember, when you’re out and about to always keep your wits about you and make sure you’re visible with bright clothing or reflective running gear. Just because you haven’t had an incident yet doesn’t mean that it can’t or won’t happen. Stay smart and stay safe.