Running Rules of the Road

Leave word. Tell somebody or leave a note at home about where you plan to go and how long you plan to be out. That way your loved ones will know to come look for you if needed.

Identify yourself. Run with proper ID, and carry a cell phone with emergency contacts taped to its back.

Pretend you’re invisible. Don’t assume a driver sees you. In fact, imagine that a driver can’t see you, and behave accordingly.

Face traffic. It’s easier to see, and react to, oncoming cars. And cars will see you more clearly too.

Make room. If traffic gets heavy, or the road narrows, be prepared to move onto the sidewalk or shoulder of the road.

Be seen. Wear high-visibility, brightly colored clothing. When out near or after sunset, reflective materials are a must. (If you don’t own reflective clothing, a lightweight reflective vest is a great option.) And use a headlamp or handheld light so you can see where you’re going, and drivers can see you. The light should have a bright LED (drivers see blinking red as a hazard).

Unplug your ears. Avoid using iPods or wearing headphones—you need to be able to hear approaching vehicles. If you do use headphones, run with the volume low and just one earbud in.

Watch the hills. When they crest hills, drivers’ vision can suddenly be impaired by factors like sun glare or backdrops.

Beware of high-risk drivers. Steer clear of potential problem areas like entrances to parking lots, bars, and restaurants, where there may be heavy traffic.

Watch for early birds and night owls. At odd hours be extra careful. Early in the morning and very late at night, people may be overtired and not as attentive.

Mind your manners. At a stop sign or light, wait for the driver to wave you through—then acknowledge with your own polite wave. That acknowledgement will make the driver feel more inclined to do it again for the next walker or runner. Use hand signals (as you would on a bicycle) to show which way you plan to turn.

About Jonathan

Jonathan is a distance runner, cyclist and aspiring triathlete. With no formal training or running background Jonathan emerged on the local running scene in the spring of 2010 at the age of 27. Quick to get involved with local runners and pick up guidance, Jonathan saw efficient returns on his efforts and began to constantly ramp up training. With quick improvements, Jonathan was soon running sub 3:00 marathons and helping others get fit and fast. Jonathan has become heavily involved in the lower Hudson Valley running scene and founded Hudson Valley Running in 2013 to help other aspiring athletes get started and improve. Jonathan is currently an active member of Rockland Road Runners, New York Road Runners, USATF, Outer Loop Running Club, and 50 States Marathon Club.