Running

Running Safety! (a close call & a good reminder!)

I posted the below picture on Instagram yesterday with this caption.

Runners, make sure you get drivers letting you cross their path to acknowledge you with a wave, even if you think you made eye contact. Right after taking this picture, I had a close encounter with a car (a police officer at that); I was sure he had seen me and was giving me the right of way…not so much! I think it scared him as much as it did me.

image

I’m okay (obviously) and grateful but it definitely scared me. I shouldn’t have been so brazen bolting out in front of the car even though I was pretty sure we made eye contact. We obviously didn’t, and I’m lucky it turned out okay.

I got a lot of comments on the post in response from others who have had close calls with cars and who have been the driver experiencing a close call with a runner. I’ve been on both sides of the wheel – where I’ve been scared of getting hit and where a runner just totally caught me off guard OR where I simply wasn’t paying attention enough.

I think it’s worth a reminder of some safety tips no matter what side of the wheel you’re on!

If you’re a runner:

  • Never assume the driver sees you. Run behind the car if you can (I do this in driveways a lot).
  • Never assume you can outrun a car at an intersection if it’s close
  • Run against traffic unless it’s a curvy road and you could get pushed off the road by someone taking a tight turn
  • Try to look around bends for oncoming cars as early as you can so you know if you’ll need to stop. Be especially cautious around yellow lights when drivers have a tendency to gun it.
  • If it’s dawn or dusk, wear reflective gear! (I blogged about my favorite reflective vest here – 5 years later, it’s still my favorite)
  • Be aware of your surroundings, even if you need to pull your earbuds out. This is especially important if you’re in an area you’re unsure of, e.g. traffic patterns, sketchiness, etc.
  • If you run solo, please be careful. Trust your gut. Tell someone when you’re going and when you’ll be back. If it’s dark, please be EXTRA careful and run well-lit streets, routes where other runners will be out, and maybe even run with pepper spray. Scary stuff can happen anywhere – but be smart.

If you’re a driver:

  • DON’T TEXT AND DRIVE.
  • Give runners some room. Nothing is scarier than a car who is too close when they do have room to swerve out a bit.
  • DON’T TEXT AND DRIVE.
  • If you’re driving on a popular running route, be extra aware of your surroundings. We runners tend to pop out of no where; runners need to watch for cars and not be dumb, but drivers also need to be aware, especially on well-travel streets!
  • Be careful coming out of driveways and neighborhood streets – especially on popular running routes!
  • DON’T TEXT AND DRIVE.

Okay, I feel like we need some more drivers’ tips. And I think you know how I feel about texting and driving. 🙂

What are your running safety tips? Driving safety tips, perhaps things you’ve learned as a runner?

After I almost hit a runner at dusk years ago, I went and bought a reflective vest that night. I could NOT see him until I was right up on him…and it was scary to realize cars couldn’t see me either. (I was doing a lot of early morning dark runs!)

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12 Comments

  • Reply
    Jenna
    at

    Glad you’re okay, but that is definitely scary! I’m too nervous to run on streets or areas where cars are, so I stick to trails and places like that. I wouldn’t feel comfortable having earbuds on with cars coming by and me not able to hear them too well, either. People are so distracted, and you’re right- the texting and driving thing is a serious problem!!

  • Reply
    Annie Sperides
    at

    Phew! Very close call. I’m glad you’re okay! Thank you for the great reminders – all of which can be applied to biking as well. If I’m going for a run on a route that I know has me running on the street or crossing intersections I set the expectation for myself that my pace will likely be much slower since I’ll be slowing down or even stopping along the way. Or I tell myself that it’s an interval run for my own safety! 🙂

  • Reply
    Mary
    at

    Yes yes yes on the no texting and driving!! I have found with running I’m generally okay with cars, plus because I spend a lot of my running time on trails up away from roads. but biking to and from work? GIVE MORE ROOM THAN YOU THINK. ugghhh i can not even get started on cars passing WAY too close. Plus, what if there is something on the road or sidewalk that the runner/biker needs to avoid? don’t be a dick about it. if I’m biking, and there are shards of broken glass along the bike lane (happens often, there are at least 5 sections on my bike home with piles of broken glass) I will be moving over into the car lane. Bikes are allowed to do that. GIVE SPACE. AND DON’T TEXT AND DRIVE.

    phew! apparently needed to get that out. ahaha

    • Reply
      Amber @ Busy, Bold, Blessed
      at

      Give more room than you thing – THIS! I walk my dog in my neighborhood with no sidewalks and generally people are ok, but some cars go well above the speed limit and barely give us any space. It can be really scary.

    • Reply
      Julie
      at

      We participated in the Urban Assault Ride in Des Moines, IA this past wknd where a fellow rider got hit by a drunk driver & later died. We were maybe 5 min. behind him. We passed by just as he was getting loaded onto the stretcher. It was a 4 lane road & not 2 min. after passing the accident (where all the emergency vehicles were there w/ lights still flashing) a car came flying by me in my lane (there was another empty lane going the same direction right next to it). It’s absolutely amazing how some people have no regard for others!

  • Reply
    Kalynn C.
    at

    Glad you are okay! When approaching a car at an intersection, I always slow down, make eye contact, and wait for them to wave me on. If they don’t, then I stop and wave them on or check my watch/stretch/something so they know I’m not moving until they do. I also wave at every car that passes me when I’m on a run (I feel like it’s the small town country girl in me that just waves at everyone) as a way to 1) bring their attention to me and 2) as a small “thank you” for moving over, slowing down, not hitting me. Also, growing up in the country where it was hard to always see or hear cars coming over this hills, I’ve never run with earbuds. They usually don’t stay in anyway, but I’ve always felt safer without them.

  • Reply
    Christine Whittington
    at

    You can also get reflective vests and lights that attach to the collar if you run or walk with your dog at night.

  • Reply
    Christine Whittington
    at

    Drivers should not put brights on a runner at night. It can blind you and cause you to trip. It really does more harm than good.

    Then there are drivers who do this sort of thing. It happens more frequently than people might think. Both my husband and I have been heckled by drivers who just don’t seem to like to see people running or biking. This also applies to drivers who come up behind you and blast the horn.

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-3194967/Teacher-pens-open-letter-white-van-man-heckled-big-girls-beautiful-chants-running-boyfriend.html

  • Reply
    Alyssa @ Life of bLyss
    at

    I just posted my favorite running safety tips, too! I’ve gotten attacked by a dog before on a run, and ever since, it’s really scared me into being completely aware of my surroundings at all times and being armed with the necessary tools to keep me feeling confident I won’t be in a pickle.

  • Reply
    Kate
    at

    Glad that you are ok! That would have made for an interesting police report ;). I actually don’t recommend running behind a car (even though I sometimes do). I was running behind a car the one time that I was a hit – another car was turning on the other side of the car that I was running behind and neither of us saw each other until the last minute.

    Tips for drivers — look both ways regardless of the direction that you are turning (talking about those right turns). There have been so many times when I have stopped on the right of a stopped car that was about to turn right and watched the driver’s face. Sooo many times the driver never looked right before turning. Also, for goodness sake, use your darn turn signal!!

  • Reply
    Susie
    at

    I Never walk or run outdoors with earbuds. Maybe I’ve seen too many Lifetime movies but I need to be aware of what (and who) is going on around me at all times.

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