Q:

How can I stay visible on night runs?

It’s dark outside when I go running after work. How can I avoid getting hit by a car?

Nov 17, 2011
Outside
Outside Magazine
Pearl Izumi Elite Barrier Jacket

Pearl Izumi Elite Barrier Jacket    Photo:Courtesy Pearl Izumi

Saucony ViziPro Vest

Saucony ViziPro Vest

Saucony ViziPro Visor

Saucony ViziPro Visor

Specialized Aqua Veto Jacket

Specialized Aqua Veto Jacket

A:

You're right to be concerned: According to the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the hours between 6 P.M. and 9 P.M. are the most dangerous for pedestrians. There is also evidence that ten percent of all on-road pedestrian fatalities happen because people are not visible to drivers. Add in the growing number of motorist who text and talk on cell phones, and wearing bright, reflective clothing starts to make a lot of sense.

Saucony has embraced the brightness idea with its Vizipro Pink Women’s Performance Apparel line. These jackets, vests, hats, and gloves are a deep shade of fluorescent pink, reminiscent of a piece of strawberry Bubblicious. (The line also comes in a pumpkin-colored orange.) Saucony arrived at these colors by rigorously testing various hues of pink and orange in low-light conditions for their “reflectance factor,” a measure of how well the fabrics reflect, rather than absorb, light.

Colors that exceed a reflectance factor of 1.0 are considered fluorescent. In its Vizipro line, Saucony added reflective piping in key areas like the zipper and on the back. They also threw in an additional light source in the form of a clip-on USB LED flashing light with a two-hour charge that you can attach anywhere on the jacket. I wore the Vizipro Ethereal Vest ($80) with a matching pink visor on a dark morning run before daylight savings hit. It sure felt like the cars whizzing by gave me a few extra feet of space.

For road warriors on wheels, Specialized’s ion yellow Aqua Veto jacket ($140) will turn you into a beacon of light on the darkest evening. The Aqua Veto is lightweight, waterproof, and bright enough that you'll be noticed on the road, but not so loud that you'll feel obnoxious at the grocery store.

Pearl Izumi’s Skittle-green Elite Barrier Jacket ($100) is a wind- and water-resistant shell that converts to a vest—a convenient feature for warmer climates. Reflective piping on the chest adds visibility.

With any nighttime running gear, the idea it to be as visible as possible. But visibility is only one part of the puzzle: where possible, run on sidewalks and avoid heavily traffic roads. And if you must run on busy roads at night, always face traffic so you can see oncoming cars.

—Stephanie Pearson
@OutsideGearGirl

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