Sometimes there are things that need to be said. Sometimes there are things you need to say. Todays blog falls directly into the perfect blend of both. I had a close encounter with a stupid driver today that I must rant about. To my non running friends, please read so that you can be further educated and aware. To my running friends, since this scenario is probably a weekly occurrence for many of you– please feel validated!
To the driver who almost ran me over today, that was not a friendly wave I gave you. That was actually a “what the heck are you doing– don’t you see me?!” wave. Your indifferent expression as you neared me was priceless. Running me over on the basis of principle would not be nearly as fulfilling as the smile on your face alluded to as you passed. I’d find a good lawyer (one who is an avid runner) and sue you to bankruptcy if you so much as brushed my skin with your shiny car. Please, rethink your game.
I loooooove to run. I make a goal to run five days a week and those who live in my vicinity are aware of this because it’s likely you have seen me out on the roads. In fact, since I run the same route variations at roughly the same time each day– many of the cars have been trained to expect me. I recognize their car and they recognize my shoes. Together, we share the road respectfully.
It’s the new drivers that give me problems. Many drivers have the audacity to shake their head at me. Yes, I can see in your windshield when I am running the opposite direction and I am as annoyed by your ignorance as you are by the fact that I am running in the street.
I’ve heard drivers often ask why runners choose to make their paths on the street. Let me illuminate some of the many reasons. First, I will not run solely in the neighborhood that I live in because running the same two laps several times a week means treacherously boring scenery. Also, I am not a hamster, and have never been a fan of treadmills so that explains that. Second, I realize many wonder why I’m not running on the grass adjacent to me. The fact is this grass has many potholes and sharp ditches, therefore running on it subjects me to many possibly serious injuries. I enjoy paved surfaces and my legs and ankles (and pace) are quite thankful for this.
Sometimes I am humored at the overly cautious drivers that pass me as I run. These are the ones who slow down to a crawling speed as they swerve several feet away from me to pass. I smile a warm, friendly, and overly thankful smile as they inch past me. Why the cheesy grin? Because, at this slow speed it’s quite possible they may be going slow enough to take a picture and then tag me on Facebook. (and you know, I always smile for Facebook!) On the other hand, if you’re a male driving an old pickup truck or van and and going similarly slow–that is fear you see in my eyes. You are creepin me out dude! Drivers, it isn’t really necessary to go this slow, I promise.
Learning to share the road becomes more and more essential as adults of all ages are enjoying the sport of running for the first time. My suggestion to runners for safety is: Always run opposite of traffic. Wear white or bright colors and try to hug the line while road running when possible. If you see a car approaching who doesn’t seem to move/notice give them a “friendly wave.” If they continue approaching without noticing give them a loud shout (they won’t hear you, but you’ll feel better!) and then get out of the way! Some people really are idiots because I can’t count on one and the number of times I would have been ran over if I hadn’t been the one who jumped out of the way. Not kiddin.
Drivers: Watch out for runners. Don’t text and drive, or Facebook and drive, or do anything that takes your eyes off the road for an extended period. When runners are running against traffic they will always assume that you see them. So, see them! Move. Wave, smile if you want, whatever you do– be courteous. It’s likely if they have been running for any period of time several drivers have already been rude to the runner in view. When able (presuming another car is not immediately in front of opposite line) shift over even if it means you very briefly/safely cross the other line. You won’t get a ticket and the runner will oh so grateful!
Share the road. Be safe. Be nice: that goes for runners and drivers!