Winter is creeping up on many of us ladies again. All of a sudden, we’re swapping our sundresses for sweaters and sandals for slippers. But that shouldn’t mean your exercise routine suffers. In fact, research from the University of South Carolina has found that 97% of people who take part in high-intensity exercise at night find their quality of sleep is equal to or better than exercise during the day.
There are some basic steps that you can take to lower your risk:
- stick to known, familiar routes;
- don’t run with, or, at the very least, limit your use of headphones;
- avoid highways and interstates – and as best as you can, try to avoid other congested or busy roads;
- run against oncoming traffic to increase your chances of being seen by vehicles;
- follow well-lit roads and paths;
- take steps to increase your visibility;
- run with a friend or a furry companion.
So, how can you make yourself visible?
By following these steps, you can help to make yourself more visible to drivers. But you can also make some changes to the sportswear you run in. For years, we’ve relied on bright colors and high-visibility clothing to make ourselves seen. This is great during daylight hours, but simply no good at night. Rupert and Anthony Langly-Smith, brothers and founders of British reflective sportswear brand Proviz thought they could improve on the products already available on the market.
“All the high visibility stuff that was out there seemed pretty ineffectual to us at night-time. In the dark, bright yellow might as well be black. Some of the jackets on the market had a bit of reflectivity, but not nearly enough to keep runners and cyclists safe. What we were thinking was that the person needed to be the source of light,” explains Rupert.
And so Proviz was born. The company uses a special material – an outer shell that incorporates millions of tiny, highly-reflective glass beads – that lights up like a beacon when hit by a source of light, for example car headlights. By day, these beads are undetectable and the material looks relatively normal, available in a bright range of colours, like their new REFLECT360 CRS Plus Jacket. But at night your entire torso springs to life, giving off a slightly unearthly white glow.
The range received rave reviews in the media and inspired both brothers to keep evolving the brand. We asked Anthony and Rupert for some of their top tips for increasing your visibility on the roads at night.
- Incorporate reflectivewith fluorescent – don’t assume that a bright pink or yellow jacket or vest is enough to be seen in darkness. Fluorescent materials are no good at night since they are activated by ultraviolet radiation (generally not present in street or headlights). Get yourself something which actively works to announce your presence to drivers.
- Accentuate moving body parts – make the outline of your body as visible as possible. Highlight moving joints; that means wearing ankle and armbands, or jackets, shorts and leggings with a reflective trim so that a car can distinguish you from a stationary object, such as a road sign.
- Cater for low headlights – don’t just think about your top half. Most car lights are angled down, so wearing reflective shorts, leggings, belt, ankle bands, trainers with reflective strips on, or reflective shoelaces are all helpful to counteract this.
- Get some lights and make sure they flash – lights are not just for cyclists! Blinking lights are better than solid lights for attracting attention, but solid lights are better for drivers to gauge the rate at which you’re moving. Having one flashing and one steady is a good compromise.
- Never assume you’ve been seen–keep alert when crossing roads, double and triple check for traffic. When in doubt, stop and wait for a car to manoeuvre before you do so.
The Essential Visibility Kit
If you want reflectivity that’s as stylish as you, go for Proviz’s REFLECT360 Running Jacket, this feather-light jacket lights up entirely from the front when hit by exterior light. Both the arms and collar have reflective panelling on the back as well as two extra strips for added noticeability.
For the runners who are out at all hours in all weathers, why not try Proviz’s Pixelite Performance shorts or running tights – depending on your preference of length. They are snug-fitting, warm and flattering and have reflective strips perfectly designed for the running motion, so that passing traffic can see your moving legs. And, if you’re not quite ready to purchase a new jacket, then get yourself a couple of LED armbands.
Base layers, like the Pixelite jersey, are a good way to get some added reflectivity into your kit and if you choose breathable materials then you can use this as summer wear and as a base layer of warmth in the winter.
And, don’t worry if you’ve never been much of a runner; they have a whole load of kit for cyclists and outdoors adventurers alike. You can check out their ultimate cycling kit edit on their blog.
Even if you’re doing some hardcore marathon or triathlon training over the winter months and just the idea of wearing numerous layers makes you sweat – make sure you equip yourself with a Pixelite reflective crop top, so you don’t miss out on that all-important reflectivity!