Posted in Pedestrian Accidents on October 1, 2019
A jog around your neighborhood in California should not end in tragedy. Unfortunately, drivers engage in dangerous habits such as texting and driving all too often. Distracted and negligent drivers can easily cause deadly pedestrian collisions. In 2016, 867 pedestrians in California lost their lives in traffic accidents. This was about a 6% increase from the number of pedestrian deaths in 2015. As a runner, do not trust drivers with your safety. Take control over your own life and take steps to limit your odds of becoming a crash victim.
Visibility is one of your strongest defenses against a motor vehicle accident. Many drivers say they never saw the pedestrian or did not see the runner until it was too late to hit the brakes. While a driver has a duty to pay attention to the road, you have a duty to protect yourself as much as possible from accidents. You can increase your visibility by wearing brightly colored clothing. Wear bright yellow, red, orange or silver while running to catch the attention of drivers around you. Avoid wearing brown, green, black or other colors that could make you blend in with your surroundings.
If you run often, invest in protective gear such as a high-visibility reflective vest. A vest can cover your torso in a brightly colored and reflective material that will catch the sun and headlights, making you much more visible to passing drivers at night and during the day. Special reflective vests for runners have a design that is comfortable and breathable. You can also attach reflective strips to your clothes or shoes while you run.
Many companies sell clip-on lights that will flash white or red to help others see you while you run. Strobe lights can clip to your shoes or clothes to show drivers in front or behind you that you are there. You can also use a flashlight or headlamp while you run to light your way – helping to prevent trip and fall accidents while also improving visibility.
The risk of pedestrian collisions increases when the sun goes down. Limited light means a greater chance of drivers failing to see you. Older drivers or drivers with poor eyesight are especially dangerous for pedestrians at night. Running at night can also increase your odds of encountering a drunk or drowsy driver. Try to keep to a running schedule that has you outside when it is light out. Also avoid running in bad weather, such as rain or fog, to improve visibility.
No matter what time of day you prefer to run, stick to routes that have the greatest amount of light. Jog on the sunny side of the street instead of the one covered with shade, or on a sidewalk that has a line of streetlights at night. You do not want to blend in with the shadows when trying to avoid a collision. More light means better visibility to drivers. Also, run on roads you are familiar with to avoid issues such as unexpected detours or getting lost on your jog.
Pedestrians in California should run on sidewalks or pedestrian pathways as much as possible. Drivers are expecting pedestrians to be in these areas and are more likely to see them before turning. Drivers may not, however, expect a pedestrian to be jogging alongside the road. Try to stay visible and predictable by running on sidewalks only. If you must jog on the road, run in the direction facing oncoming traffic. That way, you will see oncoming vehicles far in advance and potentially be able to move out of the way if a car swerves toward you.
You can never be too visible as a runner in California. Do you best to stand out with bright colors, reflective gear and lights. Follow pedestrian laws to further increase your safety while running.