With winter on its way and daytime ending sooner each day, your after-work run may have turned into running at night. Whether in the evening or early morning, darkness affects your running safety.
Between decreased overall visibility (i.e. what you yourself are able to see, as well as how easily drivers and others can see you) and increased vulnerability to attack by criminals or even nocturnal animals in some areas, it is natural to feel anxious at the thought of running in the dark. Remember that fear itself is an important survival mechanism. Fortunately, along with good common sense, specialized running safety devices are available for maximizing personal safety, so you don’t have to limit yourself to indoor gyms all winter.
Running safety gear that enhances your security in the dark is designed around three main strategies: providing additional light for better visibility, using warning alarms to deter possible physical assault and being armed with legal devices for emergency self-defense.
1. Safety Lights and Reflective Clothing
When running in darkness, clothes should be bright-colored, e.g. white or yellow. Vehicle headlights can pick up light colors far more easily than dark ones. Another thing to consider is that the parts of you that are moving — your legs — are the most conspicuous, so wearing tall, white socks will add to your visibility. Along with light-colored clothing, use reflective materials or strategically placed reflective patches. You can find reflective tape at most athletic stores to easily attach to clothing you already own.
Carrying a compact light source, such as a small flashlight, can be necessary for illuminating things in your travel path that might otherwise cause you to trip. Taking running safety at night one step further, there are many products customized for dark conditions that combine a light source with a personal alarm or other self-defense device such as pepper spray or a stun gun.
One item to check out is the SABRE Short Stun Gun with LED Flashlight, a reasonably priced item which efficiently combines a powerful light with a high-charge current for stunning an attacker. Learn about stun gun strength to help you choose the product for you.
2. Personal Alarms
Personal alarms can be another convenient and cost-effective way to be safer when running at night. A number of these available through SABRE come with clips or on keychains, emitting a high-pitched alarm when the pin is pulled. Some are equipped with LED lights and manufactured using reflective material to increase runner visibility. The SABRE Runner Personal Alarm with Adjustable Wrist Strap comes on an comfortable, easy-to-secure wristband and gives off a piercing, 130dB alarm with a sound range up to 1000 feet (300 meters).
3. Pepper Spray
If your safety is threatened on a run, every second matters. That’s why pepper spray can be a lifesaver to incapacitate an attacker and give you the crucial moment you need to escape.
Pepper spray exposure causes a burning sensation, pain and temporary blindness. Its potent inflammatory effect causes the target to involuntarily close their eyes. It also triggers an uncomfortable stinging sensation in the lungs, causing shortness of breath, coughing, and shortness of breath. As an self-defense tool, pepper spray gives a victim ample time to escape from an attacker.
SABRE has a huge variety of pepper spray products. For runners, there are compact, convenient-to-carry options like the Runner Pepper Gel with Adjustable Hand Strap. Pepper gel is an ideal product for runners, because it doesn’t atomize in the air like a pepper spray, and virtually eliminates wind blowback. This makes it a perfect option to carry on a run outdoors. Pepper gel also has a 20% greater range than a traditional pepper spray. The SABRE Runner Pepper Gel with Adjustable Hand Strap can spray a distance of up to 12 feet to maximize your safety at a distance.
Running safety at night lies fully in the hands of each individual athlete. Appropriate consideration of the run in advance — including location of your route, how long you’ll be outside, ability to utilize your cell phone and use of special clothing and gear — will make all the difference in maintaining both your personal security and your fitness. Simply put, the potential cost of running at night without reliable, high-quality safety gear is far too dear for any athlete.
4. Stun Guns
Some night exercisers feel safer using a stun gun for protection against potential criminal attackers. Stun guns work by inflicting a high-voltage electrical current onto an assailant, resulting in pain and uncontrolled muscle spasms that temporarily incapacitate them. The low amp of the current, however, causes no serious or permanent injury. Aggressors shocked with a stun gun are rendered passive and immobile for several minutes, allowing time for a victim to escape and seek help.
Most SABRE stun guns combine an intense and disabling electric charge with a high-lumen LED flashlight that can be used to blind a would-be attacker from a distance. According to the National Institute for Justice (NIJ), stun guns cause pain at a charge of 0.5 µC (microcoulombs) and unbearable pain at 1.0 µC. SABRE uses this more accurate measure of stun gun effectiveness — its charge rather than voltage — to provide clear information about all stun gun models.
An excellent choice for runners is the SABRE Tactical Stun Gun with LED Flashlight & Anti-Grab Technology, which delivers 1.25 µC (intolerable pain) and an intense LED flashlight capable of blinding an assailant from a distance. It also features anti-grab technology to deliver the shock to anyone attempting to grab the stun gun away from you.
As the days continue to get darker and shorter, we want you to feel empowered to run when and where you like to. A prepared run is a smart run – and the more prepared you are for your run, the safer you can be. Keep a safe pace with SABRE.