Home » Ranting » Too Far Left And Too Far Right

Too Far Left And Too Far Right

(After writing my title, I realize it sounds very political.  It is not.  I prefer to keep politics out of my blog.)

Sunday morning I woke up ready to run.  I was excited; the weather was perfect, I had a new route picked out and my legs were feeling good!  The route was around my new neighborhood, out onto the main road for an out and back and then back around my neighborhood.  The out and back was on a fairly busy road but there is a clearly marked, decent sized shoulder to run.  The out part of my run was uneventful but the back part was a bit much more dangerous…

Just as I began to head back, a car coming towards me (I was running against traffic, as it should be) veered all the way into the opposite lane.  I can only suppose this exaggerated veering was to make a point that this driver did not like runners on the road.  I running as far over to the left of the shoulder as I could and he had plenty of room to keep driving without veering at all.  Instead, he got into the other lane where he almost hit the driver on the other side head-on.  Since he had begun his veering before he even got to me, he was actually back in his own lane by the time he went by– and he gave me the finger.  REALLY?  I was stunned- but it wasn’t long before another driver was coming at me and this one was driving seriously close to the shoulder.  And as I moved over all the way left, he got over too…his tire was actually crossing the shoulder line.  I jumped into the grass as he went by and noticed him and his buddy were cracking up. 

This lead me to the conclusion that PEOPLE ARE FUCKING CRAZY!

Obviously both of these situations were dangerous.  But what bothered me even more is how deliberate both of them were.  These easily could have caused major accidents because they wanted to make a point or be funny.  And what would have been the result?  Likely, dead bodies.  Luckily, I stay constantly aware of my surroundings…and if I am running alone, in the dark or on busy roads, I never take my IPOD.  It can be difficult enough to avoid unintentional problems on the road while running, but runners also have to worry about people who are in a rush, out to make a point or being just plain stupid while driving.

In the time since Sunday’s run, I have been thinking a lot about run saftety.  We hear a lot about staying safe from crime while running; running in groups, running while it is light out and not using an IPOD if alone or when it is dark.  But what about staying safe in general?  Wearing refelctive gear, running against traffic and staying out of traffic all goes without saying…but what else can we do as runner to keep ourselves safe on the road?

What measures do you take when running to make you safer?  I am looking to compile a list for a future post, so any and all information/advice is helpful. 


20 thoughts on “Too Far Left And Too Far Right

  1. Some municipalities here are starting to make it illegal to run or walk in bike paths/shoulders when there is a sidewalk available, so the sides of roads are restricted to cars and bikes to avoid collisions. That wouldn’t help in your case since there was no sidewalk, which seems kinda crazy in itself if it’s a busy road as you say. Where is the pedestrian representation?!

  2. I never run with an ipod when I run outside just for that reason, too many cars have come too close for comfort! i just don’t understand why people get mad at runners/walkers. I always stay on the shoulder and even get over onto the grass if I know a car is approaching from the opposite direction so the oncoming car cannot get over. I think that a lot of drivers have forgotten the rules of driving, not just with dealing with pedestrians but everything else too. People are so impatient and annoyed at little things that they get carried away and can cause accidents! I guess you should have gotten me started on this subject lol. i guess its a big deal to me because I worry that I may get hit by a car while running.

  3. First off, glad you were aware and did not get hurt!

    I live in a very rural area but we have knuckle heads here too. Quite often people drive where they are looking. So if they are looking at a runner… Well they can get kind of close. And I have they “I think it’s funny to act like I’m gonna drive into you.” Remember these brain-iacs are people I actually know! And they see me running every day. But my biggest worry is not the goof offs who do something on purpose. At least those people ARE looking and SEEING me. My worry is the driver who is playing with their (fill in the blank). I see it all the time even with the few drivers I encounter! It scares me when they FINALLY look up from whatever they were adjusting and react to seeing me. I wonder if the day will come when they jerk the steering wheel a little too hard in the wrong direction…mine.

    To stay safe. I knew wear headphones outside. I wear my RoadID. I have reflective tape on my stroller and shoes. (nights and winter I have it on me front and back) I usually carry a cell phone with me. I carry a whistle and dog spray (now). I know my running areas well. I keep at least one ear uncovered and turn my head to the side to help hear cars as the approach. I let someone know where and when I’ll be on the road. I stop running and go into a field or front yard if I see a vehicle that is going too fast or simply makes me uncomfortable. I use my head or at least what’s inside it!

  4. I’m so glad you’re ok, girl! That had to be scary! I think that no matter what precautions we take, there’s always a danger of some sorts out there. All we can do is be aware of our surroundings and take whatever measures we’re comfortable with to prevent disaster. Knowledge is key!!

  5. I never run with iPods outside, and definitely not when I’m near cars. I don’t go out on the main road near my house, which sucks because the neighborhood roads are really really hilly. I always wear reflective at night (I have it in my bag today for the first time this fall!!).

    Honestly, I don’t know what else I can do. Runner’s world had an excellent article earlier in the year. You can see it here – http://www.runnersworld.com/article/0,7120,s6-238-267-270-13373-0,00.html I need to do a blog post on it, in fact.

    Your story totally sucks and I’d punch those guys in the face if I could…

  6. I was running in my brother’s neighorhood earlier this summer and he warned me about the lack of a decent shoulder on a short stint of road that I had to run on. He lives near the beach in a newish community and it’s not very populated down there. I todl him there was nothing to worry about since I’d be running around 7am. I only encountered two vehicles while on that little road and one guy moved to the other side to give me space. The other guy didn’t move AT ALL despite the fact he was the only car on the road. I had to step into the grass to get out of his way. It was kind of obnoxious since he LOOKED RIGHT AT ME. So frustrating.

    To stay safe in DC, I cross at cross walks and obey crossing signals (unless I’m super familiar with the intersection and know how the lights run and that it’s safe to cross and there aren’t any cars coming). I also tend to run in a group.

  7. so much better when i run with folks or a group OR stay on trails. most folks here are pretty considerate BUT i use to not run with my phone when i was alone and now i do, i bought that spibelt and always have it.

  8. I always bring my Ipod because I can’t run without music and I always run alone. If I’m on a road it’s usual not the busy ones but I run against the traffic. We have lots of bicycle paths in Holland and on the busy parts I run there which is safer. When I run in the dark I stay in my village and don’t go where it’s dark and no light. My neighbourhood is safe so I never worry someone will attack me. I use reflectors when I run in the dark and always have my phone with me.

  9. I do run outside with my iPod but I keep the volume low enough to hear the surrounding traffic. I live on a school route, so I have buses to contend with when I’m running in the morning. Buses can be even scarier than cars because I don’t think those drivers ever see us.
    To stay safe, I do stay away from main roads, although I don’t know for how much longer as I increase distances. I also run against traffic and I’m so cautious at intersections.
    We do have some jerks, like in every community, but I’ve found that more often than not, drivers in my neighborhood will give me the right of way, for which I always thank them. I must look like I’m dying or something.
    I was, however, almost clipped by someone pulling into his driveway (without his blinker). And he had the nerve to throw his hands up at me.
    I think the best thing we can do is run in a well-lit area (I don’t run in the dark if I can help it), stay alert and ALWAYS defer to the cars since they are bigger than us.

  10. I am sooo sorry! This is horrid. But I’m not surprised. I run on a busy road, as I’m sure you have read, and even though I have a sidewalk to run on, when I have to cross the street it isn’t always safe. I hate when I have to cross the street where people can make a right hand turn and I’m trying to cross and people try to beat me. That is the worst! If they are jerks, I always yell at them, I’ve hit the hood of a few cars with my fist and I get the finger all the time.
    I just don’t get it. Stay safe!

  11. WTFFFFF dude. those people are not just crazy, they are also morons! SOOO annoying.

    i guess what i do is prepare to run on the shoulder/in the ditch or even stop altogether and wait on the side of the road – whichever seems necessary. with iphones/blackberrys these days – drivers are only getting less-attentive. at intersections (of roads or businesses/etc) i’m always ready to come to a complete stop whether i’m going straight or turning. i’ve seen too many people pulling out who don’t look right, just left and don’t see me there. of course at dawn/dusk i try to wear reflective clothing – hat, shirt and/or shorts, and road id anklet.

  12. I run with a flashlight when I run in the dark. When cars are approaching I shine it at their windows. This has produced good results. I have never experienced the crazy that you did on your run, but I have always thought that if I did I could throw the flashlight at the oncoming vehicle. Might work 🙂 I agree with you that running outdoors brings all sorts of dangers and we runners need to be safe out there!

  13. OMG…that is so crazy! Why do people do that? It isn’t funny and it’s so dangerous! I just don’t get it!

    Some things I do to keep myself safe are run in places that are well traveled/occupied with other runners/bikers. I also started carrying a small pepper spray canister with me on my longer runs that just velcros right to my Nathan waist belt. I do wear my Ipod, but I keep the volume low so I can hear what’s happening around me.

  14. Oh my gosh. You must have been so completely pissed off. Wow. I would have been. What jerks.

    To stay safe, I stay off the road, when I can. Really. And I wear a headlamp in the dark, and if I run with music, never have it in more than one ear. That still probably isn’t enough.

    And I run with a knife.

    Just kidding. Ha ha!

  15. Craziness. What a bunch of dumbasses.

    I never run with an ipod except at the track – just too dangerous otherwise. If I’m running in the dark, I wear my orange vest and headlamp. Oh, and it helps to havea husband in law enforcement. Somebody does something stupid, I make a call with their license plate # and at least they get a talking-to. 🙂

  16. That makes me so angry.
    People aren’t just f-ing crazy they are nasty mean, too.

    I’ve had similar things happen and it pisses me off each time. Then I think that those people have sad, sad lives and they will probably never know happiness and that’s unfortunate.

    Be careful out there!

  17. Having been a teenager not too long ago, I can unfortunately understand why some drivers will be dicklicks. But they are rare.
    I think I’m on the same track, generally as other people have commented, with one, well, giant exception that I’m mention at the end.
    I carry water, a little $$$, my cell, always wear my Road ID, more often than not have on a reflective vest, and NEVER listen to music while running outdoors.
    Oh, but yeah I run with traffic. In very few situations do I feel safer running against traffic, particularly with so many hills around here. I use my ears to keep me safe, and I just have to hope it keeps working.

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