Jogging is one of the most common and popular forms of exercise among South Africans; and as the months get warmer, more and more people can be found running along the road.
Sadly, there are many challenges runners face daily, mainly distracted drivers, poor visibility, blind spots, and motorists driving under the influence of drugs and alcohol.
Although motorists are required to yield to joggers (pedestrians and cyclists), some drivers seem to be stubbornly unwilling to share the road with runners. As a result, the onus falls more upon joggers to ensure their safety, than it does on other road users.
Here are a few tips to keep runners safe:
- Do not wear both earpieces. Your ability to hear what is happening around you is vital and could save your life by helping you to identify and avoid danger before it is upon you. Rather, wear one earpiece and keep the volume high enough to hear what is happening around you while enjoying your playlist.
- Face oncoming traffic. While cyclists should ride with traffic, joggers and walkers should go against traffic so they can see vehicles approaching them. By facing traffic, you increase your ability to react quickly should you feel endangered by an inattentive driver.
- Stay alert. It’s ok to enjoy your morning or evening run, but do not, under any circumstances, zone out. The more aware you are, the less vulnerable you will be. Here are some examples:
- Wave at drivers so they can see you
- Obey road rules
- When possible, run with a partner, in a group, or with your dog/s.
- Look left, right and left again before crossing streets
- Approach bends, blind curves, gateways and other entrances with caution as motorists are sometimes more on the lookout for other drivers and not runners.
- Wear reflective clothing. Although the sun rises early in summer and a little late in the evenings, it is advisable to be as visible as possible at all times.
- Stay off the road. Whenever possible, run along the side of the road (shoulders and footpaths), and not on the road itself. When running with others, run in a single file as often as possible. Running 2 or three abreast is only safe when running on deserted roads but be aware that traffic conditions can change quickly, so pre-arrange how to get into single file when a car approaches.
One of the most important rules of running on the road is that motor cars rule. Yes, joggers by law, have the right of way but when it comes to real-life situations where it’s car vs human beings, cars always win. Even when you have the right of way, give way to cars and trucks. Keep your eyes on the road, step aside whenever necessary and live to jog another day.