10.31.2016

Road Running PSA

Safety while running has been on my mind since I read Dorothy Beal's post the other day on fears she may encounter on a run. You can read her post HERE. She did receive some not so pleasant comments but I think she was prepared for that. Expressing an opinion, or fear, that may not be mainstream kinda puts you in the path for not so nice comments.

But this post isn't to bash Dorothy. I have nothing against her and am glad she expressed what was on her mind --- that she may be fearful for her safety while running. She did keep stressing that she realizes that these are her own fears and that all the guys she crosses can be awesome but with news of women being abducted or harmed on a run, she is afraid.

Who can blame her?

Not me. I can have my own host of fears. Some more rational than others. But they all keep me safer as they keep me thinking about safety. I do not fear men per se on a run. I run in public places and in daylight - two things that can increase my safety in my frame of mind. But that highway I run along can bring up new safety concerns. Before you go bashing me, it isn't a mainland highway but a Maui highway and a popular place for runners and cyclists alike. This is not I-10 in rush hour traffic....although that may be safer as no cars are moving. (Just kidding, guys!)

Today I was a bit more focused on safety perhaps due to residual effect of the article I already mentioned or because it was morning, drop the kids off at school traffic time. Just crossing the road at a crosswalk to get to the other side so I could run racing traffic was a challenge....even at an intersection with a cross guard. But I must add, the cross guard didn't move one inch to help me and stayed in his car. I am sure if I had a kid at my side he would have jumped into action to ensure the kiddo got to school safely but I was just a runner.

I ended up running up the road a bit and crossed where traffic wasn't as congested and moving as slow and bottle necking. Yes, that was safer. Go figure. But I really didn't like running without seeing the traffic coming to me. I like seeing the cars and know it is best to run facing traffic.

As I ran along I remembered the fears that can creep into my head at times. The fear that I would be harmed and no longer be there for my daughter. Cars are dangerous and I am just a human. Any mishap and I am sure the car would come out ahead. And then there are the narrow shoulder stretches where I am running along a guardrail with no place to jump or dodge to. My overactive imagination can envision being pinned between a car and those rails. I run faster in these points to get to wider, safer, stretches.

I know the odds of harm are small and in those times of fear I remember, God is with me. He will call me home exactly when He wants to and being wrapped up in fear does me no good if I let it take over. But it isn't bad to be aware of your surroundings and to be proactive. I watch those cars. I listen for them. I look at the drivers. I take my defensive driving skills and turn them into defensive running skills and it has saved me, I am certain.

There have been countless times I have seen, or heard, a car coming to the intersection to make a right hand turn. I see them through the trees or hear them in the distance and adjust my speed accordingly. Most times, they see me at the very last moment and wave me on to continue with a smile. Sometimes, like today, they don't. I stopped at the intersection as the driver was looking left, rolled through the intersection, and started on the highway and didn't even look right until he would have hit me had I moved on. Runners, never cross in front of a car if you have not made eye contact. I don't care if you have the right away. Just yield. This driver didn't even flinch. The one from a similar scenario over a month ago totally flinched when she finally saw me. I hope she will remember to always look BOTH ways before going into an intersection. Guys, it isn't just runners or cyclists (who should be on the other side of the road) but what if for some crazy reason a car is coming up in the lane you are going into? It can happen. Just look, okay.

Halfway through my run as I pondered safety and this post I got to thinking, how many cars may I come across on a run. Today I passed 67 cars in 1 mile. Assuming even pace and traffic, that would be 268 cars today. Out of those cars, 3 made visible adjustments to their course in response to a runner on the road. By that I mean they moved a bit away from the white line on their right to give me a bit more room. Okay, two did that. One was a tractor driving up the shoulder who moved into the roadway while I moved off the shoulder as I was by a big field and could do so. For every car that visibly yields, I always wave, smile, and say thank you. They can't hear me but hey, maybe they can read lips. 3 out of 268 cars isn't much. That represents only about 1% of the drivers. But get this, those 3....they all happened on my way back down the hill going against traffic coming up. Not the morning rush traffic. Everyone in that rush was obviously in too much of a rush to do anything.

I also want to add, from my observations today, more than half of the drivers drive closer to the white line to their right versus the center line. I get this. I understand. But I feel when there are runners, cyclists, etc. in the shoulder maybe it is a good time to move a wee bit more central or to the left in your lane. I am not asking anyone to move out of their lane. Just to free up space.

As a driver, I do this but I am also a runner. I get it from a runner's perspective. I am certain a vast majority of the drivers knew I was there and were completely in control but I also know, some drivers text. I know some drivers swerve. I see it on the road when running and driving. It happens. It is in the back of my mind always. I am a defensive driver/runner. When I drive by someone on the roadside, I give them room....as much as possible. I know when I see someone do that for me I get a feeling of relief knowing for certain that they see me. And that is a cool feeling. And it just feels nice to be giving a wee bit more space.

So my mission for all of us is this, try to be a bit more friendlier on the road not only to fellow drivers but to runners and cyclists. Be safe out there!

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful to those who give me extra room on the road.

Daily Bible Verse: Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go. ~ Joshua 1:9

No comments:

Post a Comment

Let's chat!