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Running Safely

Running Safely

 By Erik Johnson
January 18, 2016

It all happened in a matter of seconds, but every time I replay it in my mind it’s in slow motion.

The white sedan was pulling up to the stop sign out of the neighborhood to my left as I was running down the main road. The driver looked to his left to make sure no cars were coming. There weren’t any, and as he continued to look left without ever coming to a complete stop, he made a quick right turn, just as I was crossing in front of him.

Thankfully, I was able to process all of this as it happened. I jumped out toward the middle of the road, placed my left hand on the hood of the white sedan, and let my momentum carry me around the front of the car. And then I just kept running. Had I been a second or two later, he would have had me rolling across his hood. Had he looked right, he would have seen me.

This all happened this past Thursday afternoon. It was a bright, sunny day with little wind. I was wearing a bright blue pullover and was running on the left side of the road. It was an area I consider to be one of the safest parts of that run.

It isn’t always fun to think about, but accidents do happen. Yes, humans mess up sometimes. While you can never fully prepare for everything life may throw your way, there are some ways you can help prevent yourself from becoming a victim while out on the run. Here a few things I do to make my runs a little safer:

  1. Make eye contact with drivers. When I worked as a counselor at a summer camp, the camp director would not allow the the staff to wear sunglasses except in special situations, like lifeguarding. The reason for his rule was that one of the first ways people connect is through eye contact. By making eye contact with drivers, you know for a fact that they see you. One of the reasons I knew the white sedan wasn’t going to stop was because I never saw his eyes.

  2. Run on the safe side of the road and make sure you're wearing something that's bright and visible. Typically, this is the left side of the road where you are supposed to be running or walking. But there are times when it is safer for everyone involved if you to run on the right side of the road. Be aware of your surroundings and make wise choices.

  3. Thank drivers for giving you space. Yes, they may be legally obligated to give you space, but it is also a choice they have to make. If you notice someone moving out of the way, give them a wave and at least mouth the words “thank you”. Maybe they will feel an obligation to move out of the way on future occasions as well.

  4. Don’t be a jerk. The last thing we need is give more drivers a reason to hate pedestrians.

How do you stay safe on your runs? Share your tips with us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram!

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