Wednesday, December 5, 2012

I have a trust issue and you should too

Today's run (treadmill): 25 minutes

As I've said in a recent post, I don't trust drivers when I'm out on a run. I am constantly flabbergasted by what I see while I'm out on the road. Cars driving 50 MPH in my neighborhood that has a posted speed limit of 30. No one using turn signals or coming to a full stop at stop signs. By believing that drivers will always do the wrong thing, I'm able to manage safely.

Last weekend I was running along a road when I spotted a woman four houses ahead getting into her car. I had a suspicion that she wasn't going to be careful and as I came closer, I saw her backing out quickly without looking. Had I not been hyper aware, she might have hit me - or come close to it. I was up and over the curb before the situation became dangerous. That didn't stop me from screaming, "Hey, did you look before you pulled out?! Do you ever look?!" I could tell she felt bad or was freaked out by my screaming at her. Either way, I'm hoping she won't forget the lesson.

This morning I ran on the treadmill because it was raining slightly and that meant conditions outside would be dark and slippery. Nothing interesting to report about my indoor run, but when I left for the train a little after 6:00 AM, I found myself in the position of being the driver pulling out with a runner passing by. Even though it's dark and quiet at that time, I was careful and looked both ways. The runner was hard to see because he wore dark colors and was running on the right side of the road. He either assumed I'd see him or was planning to thread the needle and run past my car once it cleared the end of the drive.

I saw him after taking a careful second look to my right and hit the brake before backing out. He passed by unscathed. I wanted to yell to him that he's invisible and was taking a risk by running in dark clothes, but I've learned by now that people resent being told these things. The only reason I didn't hit this fool was that I double-checked both sides before I backed out. I don't trust drivers when I run, and I don't trust runners when I drive. Trust must be earned and so far, no one's earning.   


  1. New to running and just stumbled upon your site a week or two ago. Thanks for the safety tips. You have helped cement my safety concerns and have made me a more cautious runner. Fortunately, there aren't many cars on the road where I run (Centerport), but I now wear the reflective vest for my 6:00 AM weekday runs which I had scoffed at when my wife purchased it for me and I assume that every driver is distracted and incompetent and will do the wrong thing.

  2. I have an all way stop in front of my house and I am a corner house and the corner direct in front of my house has not 1 but 2 stop signs that no one stops for. Once when out raking I actually yelled at someone who didn't even pretend to try to stop and she actually got out and told me that she didn't need to stop because she knew the stop signs were there....WHAT?!?!?!?!

    I have found that I am more aware of pedestrians now that I am a runner.

  3. I'm glad when I hear from others who recognize the constant risk that comes from running on the road. Wearing a reflective vest is a smart thing to do (and an extra layer of warmth on cold days). I'm glad you listened to your wife!

    The woman who argued why she didn't need to stop is clearly delusional, but not untypical. Every person who blows through stops signs or speeds assumes they are under control.

    It's terrible when a runner gets hit by a car but many runners who take risks also think they're under control. Unfortunately the stakes are always higher for the runner than the driver.

  4. I am in a neighborhood where there are stop signs at every corner, but not always on all sides of the intersection. I've almost been hit twice, by people who have barely stopped. It's scary out there, no doubt.


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