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Being alert at all times key to safe jogging

Features Columnist

Kevin Sproul

Kevin Sproul

A couple of months ago in my April article, I shared my concerns about the safety of our citizens who ride bicycles on the public roadways in Dougherty County. I provided some basic safety tips that I obtained from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Since the publication of that article, I have received several comments from citizens concerning the safety of individuals walking or jogging through their neighborhoods. The comments ranged from joggers running in the wrong direction to joggers running at night with very little or no reflective clothing at all. Listed below are some safety tips for people who like to get out and walk or jog.

  1. Make Sure You Can Be Seen. No matter the time of day you’re running, it’s important that you can be seen, especially by drivers. Try to wear white or bright-colored clothing. If you should happen to run in the early morning hours or after dusk, make sure you have reflective gear on. Although most running shoes, vests and jackets already have reflective pieces on them, it never hurts to add more.

  2. Stay Alert at All Times. Use your eyes and ears. I know most joggers will not want to hear this, but it is very important to try to run without using an iPod or MP3 player. Cutting off your sense of hearing means you can’t hear oncoming cars or cyclists, an unleashed dog, or any other potential threat that may bring harm to you.

  3. Never Assume That a Driver Can See You. Drivers can be easily distracted while listening to the radio or talking on their cell phone and may not see you. Always jog against the flow of traffic and try to make eye contact with each driver as he or she approaches. Jog or run as close to the curb as possible and try to stay out of the middle of the street. Before crossing at an intersection, make sure the driver sees you and motions or waves for you to cross the street. Never assume that because you are on foot that you have the right to cross the intersection ahead of the automobile.

  4. Jog or Run With a Partner. Having a companion to jog with is beneficial in many ways. Having a friend or a partner causes you to stay focused in a conversation. Sometimes the lone jogger or runner loses focus or fails to pay attention to their surroundings. There is always security in numbers so jogging with a friend or companion greatly reduces the chances of you becoming a victim of a crime such as an assault, rape or robbery.

Walking, jogging, or running is a wonderful way to exercise and remain healthy. Most of us are not fortunate to have treadmills in our homes or memberships with health clubs, so we take to the streets looking to burn those calories. Whether you participate in these activities or drive by those who do, please stay alert and pay extra attention to your surroundings. If you need further information or have any questions, please call the Dougherty County Sheriff’s Office at (229) 430-6508 or (229) 431-3259.

Sheriff Kevin Sproul is a longtime resident of Dougherty County. He is a graduate of Albany High School, Darton College and LaGrange College of Albany. Sproul has been employed with the Dougherty County Sheriff’s Office since 1982 and can be reached at (229) 430-6508.