Students should exercise caution when jogging in San Marcos at night

Opinions Columnist | Journalism senior`

Texas State students who want to get in some exercise by jogging along the busy streets of San Marcos need to use caution and become better-informed about the correct procedures.

Imagine driving down a road in the middle of the night. This road happens to be a very busy one, so there are many cars moving quickly all around. A hill approaches, and as the car ascends to the top of the street, a person running alongside the road suddenly emerges from the darkness. This person is completely dressed in black, has no reflectors on, is jogging with the oncoming traffic and is just barely two inches away from the busy street. To avoid hitting this foolish person, cars are forced to swerve and risk causing an accident with another vehicle. In this very dangerous situation, both the driver and the runner were put at risk because of the jogger’s bad choices and lack of awareness.

Unfortunately, many people do not have to imagine such a dangerous scene playing out because, frustratingly enough, it happens all the time in San Marcos. As a runner myself, I understand the importance of practicing safe running habits and taking extra precautions when jogging next to busy streets. When people consciously decide to place themselves in danger by running on congested streets, whether they are being safe or not, there is always a chance that an accident could occur. It does not matter if someone is jogging around campus, down LBJ or on Ranch Road 12.

Runners must remember to always run against traffic and try to stay off the road itself if at all possible. This is especially vital at night. Logically, it is much safer if runners can see the cars coming towards them rather than allow vehicles to approach, unseen, from behind. Sometimes, a driver may be distracted and not see someone until the last minute. If this happens, the runner jogging against traffic will at least have time to react to the situation and possibly prevent a disaster from happening.

It is equally important for runners to wear some type of reflective clothing while running at night. While many people are content to simply lace up their tennis shoes and strap on their iPod, those running at night should make sure to put on a reflective vest or attach a flashing light around their waist. It is a good idea to also add reflective gear to the arms and legs since drivers are more likely to see the light when it is in motion.

I have been in a position before when I was driving down the road at night and suddenly came upon someone running down the road. Even though they were correctly running on the right side of the street, it was still difficult for me to clearly see the person due to their dark clothing. It would have been much easier for me to spot them had they been wearing something reflective or even if they were simply dressed in brighter clothing.

I am by no means trying to discourage people from running around the streets of San Marcos. I run all the time, and I immensely enjoy it. The only message I am trying to convey is that those who run at night need to be more careful when they do so, especially if they jog next to busy streets. To avoid future accidents, runners need to always remember to run against traffic, wear bright and reflective clothing at night and keep a safe distance from the street—basically, just use some common sense.