10 Tips to Keep You Safe on the Roads

By: Matt Young

Most of us live in fairly rural parts of West Virginia, Ohio, and Kentucky where running hills and backroads demand our attention to safety and to be ever vigilant of dogs off of leashes.  Not only that, but if you’re a dedicated runner you probably run in the dark at least part of the year. 

Safety for runners is an important topic and covers a wide array of circumstances.  In the Genesis Running 5k classes I’ve teamed up with Putnam County Deputy Sherriff, Shane Shamblin, to give some tips on runner’s safety.

Shane once led the K9 unit for the department so he’s also an expert on dealing with dogs on the run. I like to run back roads near my house and dealing with dogs (and the occasional angry rooster) are a fact of life.

But before we hit the tips, everyone needs to have a Road ID. It’s about the most important piece of safety equipment you can have and you can get one here: https://RoadID.com/invite/DF9G-TAFPR3M27S7

General Safety Tips for Runners:

  1. Lose the headphones!!!! Without your hearing you’re giving up a key sense to alert you to oncoming danger.  Instead of listening to music use the time to clear your mind and it will also keep you safe.
  2. Always wear bright clothing to make yourself more obvious.
  3. In dusk, dark, or pre-dawn hours use reflective or flashing items to alert traffic to your presence.
  4. Wear a headlamp to keep you from tripping and stumbling and to make you easier to see.
  5. Run towards the direction of traffic to view oncoming vehicles.
  6. Never assume a driver sees you.  Try to make eye contact to determine if the driver might be texting, on the phone or generally unaware of your presence. When in doubt bail off the road a good 5-10 feet to avoid a car.
  7. When approaching a car entering traffic always run behind the car to go around it. Even if they wave you on in front of them, politely wave a thank you and continue behind the car.
  8. Make sure someone knows where you are heading for your run and it’s always a good idea to change the routine up (time, day , location, etc.) so you’re not predictable.
  9. The best “weapon” for defense is a plain whistle. If you chose to bring a defensive weapon with you on your run, be proficient with it by training and strengthening your muscle memory with that weapon.
  10. It’s not always the size of the attacker, but the attackers’ determination to be successful. Be MORE determined to win.




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