Although dawn and dusk are the favorite times for runners, they are also among the most dangerous times of day for those running on the road.
The Lynchburg Road Runners Club has promoted fitness through running for over 30 years. Members of the club meet at various points in Lynchburg on a regular basis to run together.
Running with others can help you stay motivated and on pace. We asked members of the Lynchburg Road Runners to share safety tips for running near traffic, especially at dawn and dusk.
Kit tells us, "Dusk and dawn are the most dangerous times because drivers can't see as well as they think they can. Always carry a light and don't be afraid to shine it at the driver."
Leslie shares, "Reflective vests, headlamps and LED blinky lights are vitally important at night, dusk or dawn. The more visible you make yourself, the better."
Jerry says he was once told, "Always make eye contact with the driver at an intersection so that both of you know it is okay to cross." Jerry says that advice has stuck with him over the years.
Renee adds, "Drivers don't pay attention. Runners in groups are the worst. They talk to each other with heads turned and often don't look at cars turning. It's not safety in numbers when it comes to running in the dark or inclement weather."
Wendy suggests, "Wear bright clothing and carry something reflective if any part of your run takes place before dawn or after dusk, especially if it is not well lit."
Jerry adds, "I saw a runner on Timberlake Road running in the rain the other day. It scared me because my visibility was impaired and I was not expecting it."
Paul advises, "If running on a road, always run facing the traffic and have a plan to move off the road if you feel that an oncoming vehicle doesn't see you. Too often, I encounter runners on the wrong side of the road, running with the traffic flow."
Mary adds, "If there is a sidewalk available, use it! I know many don't like to run on sidewalks, but it does keep you safer. Do not assume everyone sees you. I cannot reiterate how many times I've come up on someone unexpectedly at different times of the day with different weather. Bright colors and reflective clothing help."
Watching for drivers and running defensively are also important, as shared by Donna. "When I'm running on the road, I look for erratic driving and get off the road as far as possible. When cars get closer, I look for the driver's face. If you can't see their face, they are not looking at you or the road."
Donna adds, "Plan your escape. I drive defensively and I run defensively. I try to do as much running on sidewalks and trails as possible."
Another runner suggests acknowledging drivers by waving at them and mouthing, "thank you." This makes the drivers feel better and you'll know they see you if they wave back.
Whether you're running in the middle of summer or the dead of winter, stay safe on the road by following these safety tips, especially at dawn and dusk.
If you're interested in joining the Lynchburg Road Runners, visit their website at the link above or find the club on Facebook.