This will be a different safety post.
Last week, I ran 14 miles in my neighborhood and was almost hit by a car.
Perhaps this should be a how-to-keep-your-head-out-of-your-ass-while-driving post, but (again) unfortunately, the people who need to read it just aren't in my audience. Instead, you, my audience, runners and walkers who don't need a keep-your-head-out-of-your-ass tutorial, will get a how-to-stay-safe-while-running-in-the-dark post.
I talked a little about safety from motor vehicles in last year's post, but I don't think we can talk about this enough.
I've made a habit of not running in "public" alone in the dark to help keep me safe from predators. I run in my neighborhood and the neighborhood adjacent to mine. Although I usually don't see any people out running while I'm out there, I have houses all around me; a place to go should an emergency arise.
I wear bright colored clothing, a headlamp, and a blinking tail light on the back of my head. All of my clothing, my shoes and my hydration belt have reflectors on them.
|This is the shirt I was wearing last week. As you can see, it's pretty bright.|
I've mentioned this before: I run down the middle of the street. Yep, the middle. It's the flattest part of the road. The best place to be, according to my knees.
You might be thinking to yourself, "Why don't you stay on the sidewalk? Wouldn't that be safer?"
No. I live in a 35 year old neighborhood. We have 35 year old trees. Do you know what 35 year old tree roots do to sidewalks?
The sidewalk is a hazard in the daylight, it's a death trap in the dark.
|This is just one of many hazards on the sidewalk in my hood.|
In the dark, we runners have an advantage: we can see a car's headlights long before they can see us.
Use that advantage. Pay attention.
When I see headlights, I move to the side of the road running against traffic.
But my job doesn't end there.
When a car comes from behind, I watch the road for the headlights. If the driver keeps the car on the right side of the road, the headlights should shine brightest to my right. If the headlights are not shining to my right, I need to react. This has never happened to me, but still something to be prepared for.
With both of my incidents last week, the cars were coming toward me.
The first vehicle was a pick up truck.. I was at mile 4.5. There was a curve to the road but it didn't look like the truck was curving. Nope, it was coming straight at me. I could tell when the driver started paying attention, the truck jerked to the middle of the road, away from me.
After a few minutes, my heart rate came back down.
Just before mile 6, I saw a sedan coming toward me. I was in the gutter of the road, on the concrete right next to the curb, not even on the actual asphalt road. So was the sedan.
"See me. See me, driver."
I jumped up on the grass. Had I not, I most certainly would have been hit. The sedan whizzed past me, still in the gutter against the curb. The driver never even looked up.
"CAN WE F*CKING FOCUS, HERE?!" screamed the pissed off runner standing in the grass.
I saw a few more cars later in the run, none came close to me, but each one caused a little panic in my belly.
I stopped at home around mile 11 to kiss Ellie before she got on the bus. When I told Randy about my adventures, he was pissed. His first thought was that I should have thrown my water bottle at the car to scare the hell out of the driver.
As satisfying as that might be, I don't think it's wise to fight douchebaggery with more douchebaggary. Although, if I'm honest, I did wonder what pepper spray would do to a vehicle's paint job....
Plus, knowing me, I'd throw the bottle and miss the damn car. That would be a waste. (tongue in cheek)
So...what could I have done differently?
I thought that maybe if I waved my hand in front of my headlamp, it would look like it's flashing and might catch the driver's eye...but if the driver is looking down, say, at their freaking cell phone, that wouldn't help.
I might be doomed to a life of yelling at asshole drivers in the dark. (so dramatic)
Any tips for me?
Does anyone know what pepper spray does to paint jobs? I did a quick internet search, but couldn't find much. Perhaps an experiment is in order. If you happen to be the next person to almost run me over, let me know what your car looks like afterward, K?