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2 reasons not to wear headphones when running

Runners are often looking for ways to stay safe, especially when they have to run in urban areas. They may be worried about running near traffic or being struck by a car. Even in rural areas, danger can be high. There is less traffic, but there also are no sidewalks, so runners have to be on the shoulder of the road itself.

There are many things that you can do to increase your safety. For instance, those who are going to be running in the dark should consider wearing a vest with LED lights or putting on a headlamp. All runners should remember to run against traffic, not with it. Maybe you already do some of these things to help avoid accidents.

But one other easy step to take to increase your safety is to refrain from using your headphones to listen to music when you run. Why does this make you safer?

You hear the road noise

The first problem is that headphones prevent you from hearing road noise. This could be the sound of an engine as a car accelerates to turn, for example. That driver may be making a mistake, such as turning through a crosswalk when you have the right of way, but hearing that vehicle may help you avoid being struck. This isn’t to say it’s your fault if you are wearing headphones and you don’t avoid the driver’s mistake, of course, but it’s still helpful when safety is your top priority.

You are more alert

The second reason not to wear headphones is that they can be a major mental distraction. If you’re listening to an audiobook, for example, you may become so enthralled in the story that you’re barely paying attention to where you’re running. This just serves to further insulate you from any sort of road noise, but you could also miss visual cues and other indicators. Especially dangerous is running with headphones on after dark, as both vision and hearing are compromised.

What if you get injured?

As noted above, though, it’s not illegal to wear headphones and it’s not your fault if you get hit by a negligent driver while doing so. Be sure you know what steps to take to seek compensation for those injuries.


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