Winter running brings plenty of challenges. Besides the actual weather (with cold temperatures, gusty winds, and wintry precipitation), this season also largely eliminates several of the safer spots we may like to run.
Enter winter drivers, and you have the perfect storm.
Call it a pet peeve, if you want.
This just happened. I was out there, jogging along the shoulder of a county road with my young Lab mix in tow. (Actually, she was in the lead, so you might say she sort of had me in tow. But I digress.)
Following my state’s commonly known rules for pedestrian behavior and right of way, I was running on the shoulder, along the left-hand side of the road, facing (or against) traffic. Normally, we take one of our favorite routes, which are largely made up of off-road trails. But we’ve had a few recent snowfalls, and those courses have not been plowed. So we stuck to the roadways this time.
During the duration of our run, my dog and I experienced multiple near-death experiences and were soaked to the skin by splashed puddles from the roadway.
Here comes my runner’s rant.
As a driver, I understand the urge to step on the gas and get somewhere fast. I get that people may be in a hurry sometimes. But as a runner, I beg to differ.
When I’m out there, running my butt off, there are maybe 10 things I’d really like to avoid:
- Being run over (or nearly run over)
- Being bumped by a car’s side-view mirror (Yes, this actually happened to me once.)
- Being cut off suddenly by a moving vehicle
- Being swerved at, either on a curve or a straightaway
- Being passed too closely by a texting or telephoning driver
- Being splashed with muddy, salty, icy, or any other kind of water, slop, or snow
- Being honked at by a smart-aleck driver
- Being hollered at by a driver or passenger
- Being followed closely by a driver
- Being hit (or nearly hit) by trash tossed from a passing vehicle
Drivers: Are you getting all this?
And don’t get me started about the wafting hallucinogens that are emitted by plentiful passing vehicles. Can you say, “distracted driving”?
Adapted from public domain artwork.