Seven Simple Rules for Driving Where I Run

Today’s Run: 9 easy miles, crazy weather

When I started running this morning, the sun was shining. About four miles in, the wind started gusting, clouds came over, and it started pouring rain. Five minutes later, the sun said, “Haha, j/k,” popped back out, and kept shining for the rest of the run. Silly weather.

I don’t know if you noticed this yesterday, but it’s July now. I’m not sure what I did to offend June, but she sure left quickly. Guess I’d better make some progress on the summer to-do list that hasn’t yet made it out of my work bag.

Obviously, July is the middle of summer, which means there are a lot of people — runners, walkers, cyclists, kids playing — out and about on the roads. Lately, I’ve witnessed — or been part of — several close calls between these people and drivers. So I think it’s time for a few reminders:

Seven Simple Rules for Driving Where I Run

  1. Look both ways. This seems like common sense, no? But apparently, it is not. I can’t even count the number of times I’ve nearly been hit by a right-turning driver who only looked left. Swivel the ol’ head, please.
  2. Get. Off. The. Phone. A few mornings ago, a driver whipped into a gas station as I ran by, and he nearly wiped me out. He was texting and never even saw me. And that’s just one of a number of recent instances in which I’ve witnessed drivers doing something dangerous while on their phones. Seriously, folks, it’s illegal for good reason. Is your phone call more important than my life? (And who are you calling at 6 a.m., anyway?) Don’t talk and drive. Don’t text and drive. Just drive.
    Don't text and Drive Green Road Sign with Dramatic Sky, Clouds and Sun. Stock Photo - 10577222
  3. Take your right-of-way. I know you’re just being nice when you wave me across the intersection when it’s not my turn, and if you and I are the only ones there, that’s a cool thing to do. But if several other cars are there, too, just go ahead and take your right-of-way. Waving me across confuses the other drivers, who may not see me or may not see you wave, and that makes it dangerous for me.Once, a driver even stopped at a GREEN light and waved me across.

    I’ll wait my turn; you take yours.
  4. Make eye contact, and give me a little smile or wave. That’s the only way I know that you see me and aren’t going to smush me.
  5. Share the road. If a sidewalk is available, I’ll run on it. But in a little town like this, you run out of sidewalk sometimes. I run facing traffic, like I’m supposed to, and when I see you coming, I scoot over as far as I can without getting into a weedy mess and twisting my ankle.  All I’m asking is that you scoot your car (or semi) over just a smidge and try not to run me off the road completely. And if we’re on a dirt road, please slow down enough that I’m not choking on dust for the next five minutes. Will the 2.5 seconds for which you have to slow down really make you that much later?
  6. Don’t honk. This is more of an annoyance than a safety issue, but it’s worth mentioning just the same. Here’s why:
    Your thought process: “I know you! I will get your attention and wave to you! HONK HONK! Hi!”
    My thought process: “Do do do. Running running running. That’s a pretty flower. I love running. (HONK HONK) Aaaaiiiii !!!! *jumps three feet in air and poos a little*”
    Just tell me hello later. We’ll probably see each other at Wal-Mart anyway.
  7. Don’t get upset if I don’t trust you to do these things. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve truly believed that a driver has seen me, so I started across the road, only to have the driver start pulling forward, then slam on the brakes when he actually sees me. So even if I think you see me, I’ll probably still be cautious about crossing in front of you. Please don’t make angry “hurry up” gestures at me; this caution was learned the hard way.

Those aren’t too hard to follow, right? But we’ve all been guilty of breaking them — me included. So let’s all be a little more careful for the rest of this summer, okay?

What “rules” would you add to the list?

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