If you run on the road, though you do have a right to do so, you may put yourself at risk. Inattentive, neglectful drivers hit runners, joggers, walkers and other pedestrians every day. You’re only as safe as the drivers around you, and that could mean contending with hundreds or thousands of drivers every time you go out for a run.

To stay safe, consider some of these dangerous mistakes that runners tend to make. Avoid them if you can.

  1. They listen to music. Cranking up your headphones may inspire you or prevent boredom during a long run, but it also means you can’t hear traffic around you, and it may be harder to avoid a dangerous driver.
  2. They run with traffic. Cyclists should ride with traffic, but pedestrians should move against it. You want to be able to see the cars that are going to get closest to you.
  3. They cross a street without looking. When you’re in the zone, it’s tempting to just dart out into the road. You don’t want to pause and upset your pace. But you absolutely need to look before crossing.
  4. They run at night on unlit roads. Even when you can see the cars around you, consider how well those drivers can see you.
  5. They wear dark clothing. If you can pick between a black running shirt and a yellow or orange shirt, choose the brighter one every time. It helps even during the day.

Knowing what mistakes to avoid can increase your safety as a runner, but accidents do happen. If you get hit and suffer serious injuries, make sure you know what legal options you have.