Running into trouble? Here’s how you can stay safe on the road


Running into trouble? Here’s how you can stay safe on the road

Never wear headphones while jogging as they remove only advantage you have over traffic, RSA expert says

Our expert says there is a lack of awareness about the use of roads by those out running
Our expert says there is a lack of awareness about the use of roads by those out running

We received an email from a member of the public recently expressing concern about the behaviour of runners in his local area.

He said there was a lack of awareness about the use of roads by those out running.

He highlighted the fact that many joggers, or runners, don’t use a footpath where one is available.

He contacted 12 running clubs to ask what advice they give to members about running on the road.

They all told him it was fine to run on the road regardless of the presence of a footpath.

Another issue he highlighted was people running towards blind corners against the flow of traffic.

What’s wrong with this? Are you not required to walk on the side of the road facing the oncoming traffic?

Well if you have ever jogged or run on some of our country roads, as I do, you will know that you’re gambling with your life if you do.

Drivers come bombing around blind corners at speed and if there is no grass margin or somewhere to stand in out of the way, you take a huge risk.

With overgrown hedgerows forcing you out into the road, this is even more difficult.

Drivers should, but don’t, slow down on the approach to a blind bend.

Believe it or not they write to us about people walking on the road on blind bends complaining that they, the motorist, were forced out onto the middle of the road to avoid them, narrowly missing on oncoming car.

We politely reply they should have slowed down on the approach to the bend, the pedestrian or runner was in the right and the reason they had a near miss was because they didn’t react soon enough to the approaching hazard – the hidden danger in the bend.

At this time of the year I just love getting out in the countryside for a run. On many of the roads there are no footpaths.

The big challenge is negotiating a blind bend, especially if the sun is behind you, meaning a driver will be blinded by the sun when they come around the corner.

This is what I do.

As a runner you have one good advantage over drivers. You can hear them long before they see you.

In advance of the approach to a blind bend I’ll listen out for any traffic, check the coast is clear in both directions, cross the road and run with my back to the traffic, but all the while listening out for any traffic and throwing a glance every now and then to check if there is anything coming from behind.

When I enter the bend, guess what? I can see if there is a car coming from behind or if there is a car coming from the opposite direction. Approaching drivers from both directions can see me, but they cannot see each other.

I have a full appreciation of the situation and know by judging the speed of the approaching vehicles if a pinch point is likely to occur as they pass each other, and me.

So I stick out my arm, hand facing downwards, and slowly wave it up and down. A signal for them to slow down, which they do.

I also use this tactic when running towards traffic while coming out of a regular corner, to warn an oncoming vehicle to slow down and not to overtake me because I know there’s a car coming around the bend that they cannot see.

Don’t forget your manners when they pass; wave to show your appreciation.

In fact you should do this any time a driver makes an effort to signal and pull out with plenty of clearance space while overtaking.

Being able to hear the traffic is important if you are out running on country roads.

That’s why I never wear headphones while running. It takes away the only advantage you have over traffic.

Indo Motoring

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