It may sound like a joke, but it’s not. I have had many close calls with cars, especially because I live in a very populated area. I usually always try to run in the daylight, but I live in an area where there are a TON of cars, everywhere, all the time. Crossing the street to get anywhere always involves pushing the cross walk button and I’m no expert on life-saving techniques or safety, but I know that I do a few things while running to make sure that cars see me and that I don’t get run over. I thought I would pass these along to blog land so that if you weren’t already doing these small techniques you can implement them and see if they work for you.
Don’t chance it by running across the street fast. I always have to push the button and make sure the light isn’t a ‘stale’ light. Meaning I came up to it and it’s been the current color for more than five seconds. There have been times when I think, oh I’ll just go quick and half way through the street the light changes and I’m caught in the middle, or having to hustle to get to the other side safely. Not smart at all. Make sure you get to the light and if you have to WAIT! Better waiting than getting stuck or the light changing on you half way through the intersection.
Don’t step off the sidewalk until you are sure that you know it’s your ‘turn’ to go. Never wait off the sidewalk and make sure you stand back from the corner of the intersection. There are always freak accidents and you don’t want to be a part of them at all. People are careless and cars are big and could easily injure you with one wrong thing happening. I only step off the sidewalk when I am sure that everyone is certain that I am going to cross the street.
Always make eye contact. I ALWAYS make sure to make eye contact with the driver(s) of the car. Sounds simple, but then you are SURE that you see them. Then, they acknowledge you and you know that they won’t purposely run you over. Once you do that, they seem to recognize that yes, you are a human and you are out for a run. It’s then when things start going better because they either give you a wave to go forward or nod their head to let you know that they’ve seen you. This is especially important on unprotected right hand turns when the light is red for them and they turn and you are trying to cross.
Give the friendly wave. I always try to give the friendly wave as well when running and drivers do pay attention to me. It also shows that I acknowledge them. It makes things easier for other runners down the road as well, because next time they might pay more attention to a runner when they see them out running! I always make sure to do this because it shows also that I appreciate the fact that they took the time to let me cross, even though I have the right away.
We all know pedestrians have the right of way, but that doesn’t always work out and make sure you are safe while running and there are cars around. Especially in the busiest traffic time, the Holiday Season, it is important to take extra caution when crossing the street. I’m working on a post for running in the dark and I’m kicking off the month of December with a giveaway tomorrow!
Do you have the same car problem? What tips do you have?