As you lace up your shoes to head out for a run on the road or the trail, you’re likely preparing to clear your mind, or preparing mentally for the training run you are about to knock out. You might think for a brief moment about the unexpected obstacles you may face along the way, like a downed tree after a storm, or a haphazardly opened car door into traffic, but then you’ll shake those thoughts from your mind and continue on to your warm up. As your routine becomes moreestablished, those thoughts will probably become more fleeting, and they aren’t going to stop you from getting out there. But, what happens when the unlikely and unexpected becomes reality? What happens when the downed tree you treated like a hurdle 10 miles from a trailhead results in a broken ankle? Or when that driver throws open their door without checking their sideview mirror first?
Noone wants to talk about the worst case scenarios - but being prepared can make the worst case scenario a little more bearable. Here are a few tips and resources to make every run a little safer.
Let someone know where you’ll be and how long you’ll be gone for. While adventures with friends are always fun, sometimes you have to head out on your own. If you run alone, on road or on trail, letting someone know where you’ll be (especially if you’re running remote trails) can be a lifesaver should your plans go awry, or should you take a nasty misstep. After you let someone know where you’ll be, keeping a phone on you is an option, but remember it is not foolproof with cell reception. Heading off road? Grab a GPS device with a built in emergency signal. These options may feel cumbersome, but if you’re badly injured and far from home, having these resources will help ensure you get the help you need.
What should you do immediately after an accident? If possible, move out of the road or to the side of your path. This may seem like common sense, but when your adrenaline is pumping after an accident, you’re probably not thinking about oncoming traffic or mountain bikers comingaround corners. Moving to the side will prevent a second accident, and a potentially worse injuryfrom occurring.
Keep whoever is around with you after an accident if possible. This may be harder on a trail, as there is probably not anyone around, and if there is, it may feel awkward to ask someone to stop. If you’re on the trail, and unable to walk yourself out, try to flag someone down and ask them to send help. If your accident involves a collision, keep all parties involved present. If you’re on the road and your collision involves a vehicle, keep the driver with you and call the police. If the driver leaves, try to make a mental note of the license plate number. If you can’t see it or won’t be able to remember what the number is, try to remember the vehicle type and color, and what the person driving looks like. Being able to identify the driver will help you when it’s time to pay medical bills. Assuming the driver is insured, their insurance coverage should step in to pay some of the bills.
If you need immediate medical treatment (and if you have service) call 911 or have someone call for you. Getting the medical help you need should always be your first priority. Whether you are a Colorado resident or visitor, you can support CORSAR (Colorado Outdoor Recreation Search and Rescue) which helps fund the volunteer search and rescue missions across Colorado. These are the folks that will be coming to your rescue should you be miles intothe trail when you have an accident.
CORSAR and Colorado Fishing and Hunting Licenses. It is a common misconception that the Colorado Fishing and Hunting license includes the costs of search and rescue services should you need them. While a portion of the fee you pay for the license DOES go to CORSAR, neither CORSAR or your fishing license will pay for any operation requiring a helicopter or ambulance evacuation. While the search and rescue services are free (major shoutout to the volunteers), you will incur charges from the operator for your evacuation.
If you’re involved in an accident with a vehicle, call the police. Even if you don’t think you are badly injured, having a record of the accident is important. When your adrenaline is flowing, you may feel OK in the moment, but it’s possible you’ll notice pain later. Having a record of the accident will help in case you need to seek medical attention after the fact, or should you need legal help.
Post-accident resources. After an accident, your primary concern should be recovering so you can get back to lacing up your shoes. Unfortunately, a major accident can leave you with a heap of medical bills. If surgery isn’t an emergency, you may choose to postpone it to save enough to meet your deductible, or to pay for it out of pocket if you aren’t covered. Lingering bills from evacuation expenses, missed work, or missed bills can also accumulate. One new option for runners is Buddy’s accident coverage. We provide on-demand accident insurance to cover accidents on the trail, on the road, or anywhere you run. Coverage is available by the day, week, month, or year, and pays stackable benefits directly to you after an accident regardless of other insurance you may, or may not have. Benefits start at $500 for a trip to urgent care and include coverage for things like ground and air ambulance, as well as PT after an accident.