An issue I deal with way more often than I really should have to is angry drivers. The number of times I have been yelled at, sworn at and received rude gestures is probably in the hundreds by now. Usually, it doesn’t bother me too much but there are times it really gets under my skin. Rather than just sit and stew or register my complaints in 140 characters or less, I’ve decided to create this handy dandy guide. Please feel free to share it with your running and driving friends alike!!
Tip # 1 – Even if you’re in a car, you actually DON’T own the road.
I know, I know you pay taxes and you (presumably) have a licence to drive, etc. But guess what? I pay taxes too but I don’t own the road either. There’s actually plenty of space for all of us and I have just as much right to using them as the next person, whether I’m a driver or pedestrian. Honking or yelling at me is a territorial action, much like a dog peeing on a tree. It’s stupid, kind of gross and I’m just going to ignore it.
“But you’re supposed to be on the sidewalk!!” Right? Well, in a word, no. Which takes me to my next point.
Tip #2 – It’s called a side”walk”, not a siderun.
There are SO many reasons why I don’t run on the sidewalk. It is uneven. It dips for driveways (where, as an aside, many people back out of way too fast without looking) and is often cracked. It is MUCH harder on my legs then asphalt, etc., etc. But here is the main thing – I’m actually NOT BREAKING ANY LAW by running on the road – even if it’s running towards traffic. You, however, are not allowed to veer towards me – even as a joke. It isn’t funny, and it breaking several laws.
I actually run about a foot away from the curb (when there is a curb). If you are threatened by this, you are actually a) a terrible driver b) too close to the sidewalk anyway or c) both.
I’m actually safer running towards traffic on the road than I am on the sidewalk and definitely safer than when I run with traffic. I have hearing loss, so I need to see the cars. Also, if you’re going to run me over, I want you to see my face before it
To recap, let me show you this simple visual;
NOT LEGAL AT ALL
Tip #3 – Encouragement is appreciated!!!
Who doesn’t like to be cheered on? Whether we runners are out for a quick little trot or in the middle of a super long run, it’s always nice when strangers go out of their way to pat us on the back. The most common ways are a hand gesture or use of the car horn. To correctly use the horn, a small tap or two is all that’s required. “Beep, beep”. I know some drivers are SO enthusiastic that they feel a long “BEEEEEEEEEEEP!!” followed by various curse words will help motivate the runner they are supporting, but believe it or not, some runners may be confused or even offended by such actions.
And all runners love to be told “You’re number one” – but make sure you use the proper finger – it’s not the middle finger, it’s the pointer.
To Be Continued…