If you’re a consistent runner, you know that wearing headphones to listen to music or other audio content can make your runs a lot more fun. When you’re out there on the sidewalks and the shoulder of the road for an hour or more, music helps to cut the boredom and can even inspire you to run faster.
The downside is that you put yourself at greater risk of being injured in an accident. There are negligent drivers all around you when you run. Some of them may turn through a crosswalk when you have the right of way. Others may back out of driveways without looking. Still others may run stop signs when you’re crossing the road.
None of this is your fault. In theory, you should be able to ignore these drivers and trust them to keep you safe. But they will make mistakes, and that will put you in danger. If you can’t hear what is happening around you, it makes it harder to react and can increase the odds of an accident.
Is running with your music on the same as texting and driving?
Some doctors have gone as far as saying that running with music is similar to texting and driving. It’s a distraction that increases accident odds. While there is some truth here, in that it’s a distraction, there’s a key distinction: Texting drivers are the ones who cause accidents — not runners with headphones. They simply get hit by negligent drivers that they do not hear coming.
So yes, running without headphones is safer, and it’s wise. But, if you do get hit by a driver who made a mistake, that’s not your fault and you may be able to seek compensation for your injuries and losses. It’s not your fault if a driver wasn’t watching the road.