The Wee Hours

November 17th, 2010 by Amy Gonsalves Leave a reply »

A couple years ago I had an eye doctor tell me that each fall he gets a load of patients complaining of worsening vision; it happens each year right around Daylight Savings Time.

I’ve noticed since the time changed that when I’m driving I can’t see people walking their dogs or jogging as well as I could when it was brighter.  (Duh.)

Makes me think of a running rule I know: If you have to ask: does this driver see me? The answer is no.

Since I’m all about getting you outside and getting you exercising (your dog should pay me a commission) I need to also be all about you doing so as safely as possible.  YOU ARE AT THE MERCY OF THE DRIVER’S EYESIGHT anytime you are within 100 yards of them.  Let’s review some bad ideas and move towards a safer way to move out there.

Very Bad Idea #1: going out there in dark pants and a dark shirt.  Drivers won’t see you from afar and may not see you at all until they are dangerously close (30-40 feet or less!!).  BE SMARTER THAN THIS.

Still A Very Bad Idea #2: going out in dark pants and a light shirt.  Better than #1, but the difference is negligible from the driver’s side.  They won’t be able to see you until they are at best 50 feet away.  Not enough.  BE SMARTER STILL.

Not Great But Better Idea #3: going out in clothes and shoes with reflective details.  The reflective details help the driver see you, if the driver has headlights on and is paying attention within 100 yards.  The more reflective details, the better.  BRIGHTEN UP.

Getting Even Better Idea #4: going out with a brightly colored jacket or top can help the sleepy drivers out there see you sooner as you move.  Reflective panels on the sleeves help the drivers detect your motion as far as 150 yards away.  BRIGHTER + LIGHTER = BETTER.

This Is A Good Idea #5: get outside in the dim dark dreary morning or evening wearing a reflective vest or blinking red light.  As long as the reflective material covers at least half of the vest and the light is an LED caution hazard pay attention driver blinking red, you’ll put the drivers in a better position to avoid you from nearly a quarter of a mile away… which is precisely what you want.   BRIGHTER + LIGHTER + BLINKING = FANTASTIC.

Let’s All Do This One Great Idea #6: get out there and wear a headlamp or handheld light with an LED whitish beam that moves as you move.  The motion will signal to all drivers from nearly a half mile away that you are a human being (or a dog: don’t forget lighting your dogs!!) and they should not drive into you.  This one takes the cake for the smartest thing you can do to protect yourself and warn those drivers.  BRIGHTER + LIGHTER + BLINKING + MOVING = SAFEST AND SMARTEST.

I took these ideas from a great article in Runners World (January 2010).  Thanks, RW!!

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