What side of the road should you run on?

Lacing up your running shoes and heading out for an early-morning run is not only an effective way to keep in shape, but it also helps clear your mind for the busy workday ahead.

Despite this activity's fitness benefits, you're putting yourself at risk if you aren't aware of your surroundings -- especially while running in a high-traffic area. Choosing the correct side of the road for your run increases your chance of staying safe.

Always Face Traffic

When running along the side of the road, the Road Runners Club of America recommends always running against traffic. Labeling the side you use as the right or left side depends on your direction, but the key is to always move in a direction so that oncoming traffic is headed straight toward you. Running in this manner gives you the ability to monitor approaching vehicles and quickly move away from the road if a vehicle is traveling quickly or too closely to the side of the road.

Running Considerations

Don't just assume that you'll be safe because you've chosen to run on the correct side of the road. Keep as far away from the lane as possible, be especially alert at intersections and low-visibility corners, and always stop at busy intersections and crosswalks. If you run with a partner or a group, run no more than two people wide. When you encounter an area with a trail or path adjacent to the road, use this area for increased safety.


Ensuring you're visible when you run along the side of the road is always important, but it becomes even more crucial when you run in low-light conditions. Dress in clothing with reflective panels or stripes; if you don't have such attire, affix a reflective strip or blinking light to your body or carry a flashlight. Avoid the temptation to listen to music as doing so can affect your ability to hear approaching vehicles. If possible, find a trail or track on which to run at night or early in the morning instead of the road.

Running Health Benefits

Provided you run on the correct side of the road and take the necessary safety precautions, running can be a useful exercise to add to your fitness routine. The activity has numerous benefits, from building strong bones to burning calories to even uplifting your mood. Aerobic exercises such as running, when you perform them regularly, can contribute to a greater quality of life and even increase your life expectancy.

posted Tuesday August 10th
by William McCoy