Anyone exercising throughout San Diego should be aware of the right side of the road to run on or even to ride a bike on. These exercise activities can be fun and a great way to relieve stress and stay in shape but the consequences could be severe if you are hit by a car, particularly if the car leaves the scene of the accident.

If there is a sidewalk in the vicinity, you should be running on the sidewalk. If the shoulder is the other option, however, there are no federal laws that dictate which side you should be on. Both the U.S. Transportation Department and the Centers for Disease Control recommend running against traffic and one Finland-based study supports this research.

If you’re going to run on or near the road, make it easy for drivers to spot you. Having your own visibility for traffic also decreases your chances of being struck by a wayward or distracted driver. 

Accident data in Finland was analyzed between 2006 and 2010, looking at more than 250 pedestrian accidents. They found that pedestrians walking against traffic had a 77% lower risk of being hit and injured by a car. The primary reason for this is that pedestrians walking absent traffic can see what is coming. They may be able to react more quickly to a distracted or a wayward driver. Running absent traffic gives you the opportunity to make appropriate adjustments.

Staying aware and wearing reflective clothing while also engaging in defensive running can allow pedestrians and exercise enthusiasts to avoid life-changing accidents. According to the U.S. Transportation Department, in 2015 there were more than 400,000 pedestrian injuries and nearly 3,500 fatal accidents as a result of distracted driving. The primary cause of this was people manipulating handheld devices. As a runner, you should never assume that a driver sees you. Trying to make eye contact with drivers as they approach ensures that you are seen and visible clothing that is a different color from your surroundings can help you stand out and avoid the catastrophic consequences of a pedestrian accident.

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