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For many people who run multiple times per week, the real challenge is just the boredom. You may feel like you could run 8-minute miles all afternoon, but it takes a mental toll when you spend more than an hour running. As a result, people often put on headphones and listen to music.

There is also the fact that music can make you run better. It can fire you up, and you’ll be faster. It can help set a good pace. It can make you forget about how hard you’re breathing or how your muscles are burning.

As common as headphones are for runners, and as helpful as music can be, is it really wise?

Perhaps the biggest risk you take is that you reduce your own awareness of the world around you. That can be a problem when running near traffic because you may not see hazards that you would have noticed otherwise.

For instance, maybe you’re waiting at a crosswalk. The light turns red, and you get the walking signal. Meanwhile, a driver speeds up to run the red light. You do not hear the engine revving, and you step right out in front of the car.

In no way is this accident your fault, but could you have avoided it if you did not have the music playing? That’s the argument that safety-conscious runners would make.

Again, though, that’s still not your fault. That driver caused the accident while recklessly breaking the law. You can legally wear headphones and run if you want to. After such a crash, if you’re facing high medical bills and other costs, you must know about all of the legal options you have.