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Three common habits that can make your jog dangerous

Jogging can be a great way to stay fit. However, many joggers do not realize that they may be inadvertently risking their own safety. Some habits common among joggers could actually increase a jogger’s odds of being hit by a car.

In 2017, almost 6,000 pedestrians died in traffic crashes, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). However, this does not mean you need to forgo your daily exercise. Avoiding dangerous habits can help you stay safe on your jog.

Do you listen to music?

Many joggers listen to music while they exercise because it motivates them to run, it helps them keep a steady pace and it can may the exercise feel easier. However, it can also make it difficult for joggers to hear their surroundings.

If you jog with headphones or earbuds, especially noise canceling ones, you may not hear approaching cars or other potential hazards around you. This means that you may move in a way that puts you in danger or that you will not react as quickly to protect yourself from a potential danger.

An obvious solution is to leave the headphones at home, but if you are really set on listening to music as you jog, there may be a few alternatives. Consider jogging on sidewalks or trails that do not allow other types of traffic. You might also consider investing in headphones specifically designed to allow runners to still hear their surroundings.

Can motorists see you?

It is always important that motorists can see you when you jog on the road. If they can see you, they can often avoid a potentially dangerous collision. However, if you jog in the early morning or late evening, it may be especially important for you to make yourself visible because most pedestrian fatalities occur when it is dark outside and difficult for drivers to see pedestrians.

You can make sure you are visible by:

  • Wearing bright clothing during the day
  • Wearing light or reflective clothing at night
  • Jogging with a flashlight at night
  • Traveling in well-lit areas

Do you cross the street safely?

It can be easy to assume no one else is on the road when you are, especially if you jog early in the morning or late at night. You may also feel comfortable in your neighborhood, so you may be less vigilant. However, you should never cross the street without properly looking for cars and making sure drivers see you.

The best way to do this is to find a well-lit crosswalk or intersection where drivers expect pedestrians to cross. Then, stop or jog in place as you look left, right and left again. Try to make eye contact with any drivers to make sure that they see you. Then, when it is safe and in compliance with any traffic signals, you may cross the street.

Although motorists have a responsibility to safely share the road, it is important for you to look out for your own safety as you jog. Many drivers are not looking out for pedestrians the way they should, and it is usually the pedestrian who ends up seriously injured. However, by being alert to your surroundings, making yourself visible and crossing safely, you can minimize your risk of being injured in a traffic collision.

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