Trail etiquette may seem like a no-brainer; however, I have come up with a list of things that you need to know in order to stay safe while on a walking trail. Over the summer time, I enjoyed going over to the park and hitting up the walking trail. While I did feel safer walking on a path rather than in my neighborhood where cars tend to speed through the neighborhood, but there was a part of me that had the wheels in my brain spinning. I guess I watch a few too many crime shows. However, even though there aren’t any cars to deal with there are a few other safety concerns that you should be aware of next time you spend time out on the trail.
Utilize a Buddy System
It is wise to go walking alone on the trail even if it is a busy area. I always took someone with me when I went walking on the trail. You never know if something is going to happen and it is best that you never go alone. Plus, it is fun talking to someone while you are walking. Do tell someone where you are going, you can’t be too careful in today’s society.
Always Keep to the Right
Walking trails are an excellent place to go walking or running. Running trails can be quite busy especially when the weather is perfect. You typically find people walking, jogging, roller blading, running, or even cycling on the trails. It is important that you keep on the right side of the trail except when you are passing someone who is going a bit slower on the trail. Treat it similar to the roadway. Keeping to the right will keep you safe in case other people aren’t paying attention.
Drink Plenty of Water
Always drink plenty of water before you head out to the trails even if it is cold outside. I personally like carrying some bottled water with me when I am walking outside so that I have something to sip on. Some trails have water fountains while others don’t have anywhere to get a drink. Dehydration can put you at risk for heat-related illnesses.
Watch for Untied Shoes
It never fails that my shoes always tend to come untied when I am exercising. Untied shoes can cause you to trip and fall. Always move over to the edge of the walking trail to tie your shoes. You can opt for Zubits (magnetic shoe closures) and never tie your shoes again. Zubits are magnetic closures, and they allow you to simply slip your shoes on and off without using your hands. Plus, you never have to worry about your shoelaces coming untied or unsightly long shoe laces that tend to get caught in everything including your bicycle chain. You can even run in your shoes without worrying that they are going to fall off your feet.
As a chronic pain sufferer, tying my shoes has always been a royal pain and Zubits were a perfect solution for me. Bending over is sometimes difficult for me and I tend to prefer wearing shoes that I can just slide on my feet. Zubits allows me to slide my feet in and out of my shoes easily. I love that they last forever and you can use them forever. When you get a new pair of shoes, simply remove your Zubits from your old shoes and set them up on your new shoes. You can purchase Zubits on Amazon.
Watch Out for Wildlife
This summer when went walking on the trail just after the sun went down when it was cooler. The trail in our area just happened to be near a heavily wooded area, and I had no idea that I would see wildlife while I was out walking. It was a super cool experience, and I was able to catch a close-up photo of a deer walking across the trail. It is important to remember to respect the wildlife and to give them plenty of space. Never try to touch a wild animal. If you see a wild animal in broad daylight, please alert appropriate authorities because the animal could potentially have rabies especially if you see a nocturnal animal.
Clean Up After your Pets
My dogs love going walking and exploring new places. It is important that you keep your dog on a leash at all times and carry those handy doody bags in your pocket. The doody bags make clean up a breeze and keep the grass close to the trails clean. After all, you wouldn’t want to step in dog poo accidently either. Other people don’t want to either and it makes the path look unclean.
Always Report Suspicious Activity
If you feel that something on or around the trail looks suspicious, you should report it immediately. There are apps and ways that you can report suspicious activity using your smartphone so that others don’t know that you are reporting something or so other people can’t overhear the conversation. Even if your suspicions aren’t correct, it is better to report things rather than let them go unreported.
Take a Flashlight
Do take a flashlight with you at night especially now that it is getting dark outside earlier now. The walking trail that I frequently visit has lights along the way but a flashlight would have still been handy. In a pinch, you could even use the flashlight as a weapon if you were attacked.
Bikes Should Always Stop or Slow Down for Pedestrians on a Walking Trail
Did you know that bikers should always stop or slow down for pedestrians on a walking trail? Bikes tend to go faster than most people who are using the trail and should always stop or slow down when there are other people using the trail. When we were walking on the trail, bikers often flew past us and most of the time I wasn’t aware that they were coming up behind us. During busy times on the trail, it is possible that a biker could actually injure other people who are using the trails. So if you are a biker who enjoys using the trails, please take note so that you don’t accidently hurt someone else.
Stay Aware of Your Surroundings
Do you enjoy listening to music or other audio tracks while you are out walking? I am guilty of sticking the headphones in my ears and heading out without even thinking twice. When you have headphones stuck in your ears and the music blaring, often times you can’t hear anything else going on around you and it leaves you vulnerable. Instead, opt to keep your music a bit lower or even leave one headphone out so that you can hear things going on around you. Also, you should look around as you are walking so that you are aware of everything going on around you.
Walking on a trail can be a fun and rewarding experience. Plus, you don’t have to worry about watching for cars. Please use these tips to stay safe the next time you are on the walking trail. Don’t forget to bring your camera along too. You can snap some cool photos.