Skip to Content

NorthShore’s online source for timely health and wellness news, inspiring patient stories and tips to lead a healthy life.

Healthy You

Sports Safety: Tips for Running at Night

Wednesday, March 07, 2018 8:11 AM

Race season will be here before you know it, and now is a great time to start your training for your upcoming events. Unfortunately, spring isn’t here just yet – which means it is still dark in the morning and evenings. If the treadmill isn’t your style and you’d rather run outside, be sure to protect yourself while running in the dark.


Before you lace up and head out, read some tips from Eric Hoeper, MD, Sports Medicine at NorthShore, about running in the dark:

  • Color up. When you are preparing to go for a run, avoid dark-colored clothes and wear bright colors. This helps you stand out against the darkness.
  • Shine bright. Invest in reflective gear whether it’s a vest, pants or bands that go around your arms. The headlights of cars will bounce off of the reflective material, alerting them to your presence.
  • Use the sidewalk. Running on the sidewalk minimizes your immediate danger and takes you out of traffic and harm’s way. Sidewalks are often well lit so you can see your route and people see you.
  • Run against traffic. If there are no sidewalks and you have to run in the street, hug the curb and run against traffic. This will help you see potential dangers coming up. It is also easier for drivers to spot you as you are in the direct line of cars’ headlights.
  • Run a familiar route. When it is dark, it is best to run a route you are familiar with. You know when to turn, where the dips are in the trails and where there are potential blind spots for cars.
  • Bring the essentials. Before you step out the door, grab your cell phone – this can help you call for help. Bring your ID and any medical bracelets needed in case there is an accident.
  • Tune out. Leave your headphones at home! Loud music can prevent you from hearing oncoming cars or people trying to get your attention. If you need to listen to music, try leaving only one bud in or play your music on your phone without headphones.

Safety is more important than your fitness – never run in dangerous conditions. Before you go for a run tell a friend, roommate or family member so someone knows where you are and when to expect you back.

What is your best safety tip for running in the dark?