Tuesday Tip: Tips for Drivers Regarding Runners

Hey gang!  This post is spawned from my most recent encounters with drivers as me and my running shoes are navigating the roads in the mornings.

Because I run early in the morning, and by early I mean, I am the sun’s alarm clock, I get to encounter sleepyheads on their way to work, school, store, dealer, where-ever they happen to be going.

First things first, I run on the road.  The road is softer on my knees and it’s easier.  The sidewalks tend to be uneven and have stuff on them.  Including snow when people don’t feel like shoveling.  Anyway, because I’m on the road that means I’m sharing space with drivers.

Sometimes this can be a little dodgy because I have discovered that early in the morning people aren’t really paying attention to where they’re going.  They are on autopilot.  When you are on the road and someone in a huge metal box is approaching you at a high rate of speed and you realize they are not paying attention, yes things can become tense there for a few seconds.

We all need to share space and respect each other’s boundaries, right?  Right!  So here’s some quickie little tips for Drivers on how to handle The Runner.

1. I understand that this might seem odd to you but I promise that we are allowed on the road to run.  Really, we are.  And while it might seem strange, yes we are in fact supposed to be running facing traffic.  Going with traffic is for bikers because they are technically on something considered a mode of transportation.  Therefore they have to follow the same rules as you.  As runners, we need to be able to see things coming at us just in case we need to get out of the way, hence running facing traffic.  Looking at us like we’re crazy or making gestures like we should be on the sidewalks doesn’t endear us to you.  We can see you when you do such things.  Just like the drivers picking their noses, you aren’t invisible either, we can see you in there.

2. When you do encounter a runner on the road please scoot your car over a bit making room for everyone.  If I can touch your car as you drive by, you are too close for my comfort and what should be yours!

3. When backing out of your driveway, please look around to make sure the way is clear.  I have brought this up before.  When you do spot a runner waiting on you to finish backing out, don’t wave them past.  Especially do not do the exasperated wave as if we are in your way and you are waiting on us to stop being a nuisance.  Waving us past, I understand might seem like a polite gesture but really it isn’t.  I will tell you why, runners have no desire to run behind your running car that is already in reverse and sitting on a slope just waiting for gravity and the car motor to get to work. By running behind you like that, we are forced to trust you with our lives.  Trust that you aren’t going to start backing up or to gun it knocking us over.  Best course of action is just to finish backing out of your driveway so that all parties involved can then move on and go about their business.

4. Turn signals are your friend and a runner’s friend.  If I am running down the road and a car approaching me just stops in the middle of the road, I am also going to stop.  You stop, I stop.  I have no idea what you’re about to do and honking at me, cursing at me, and waving frantically at me doesn’t help the situation.  If you don’t have your turn signal on, how am I supposed to know you are trying to park?  Or turn into that driveway?  Or turn on to that other street?  Unless you provide me with some cues, I have no idea what your intentions are.

These are things I have been encountering more of recently and I’m not sure why the increase but it is a bit frustrating.

The bottom line is that you are in a vehicle and a runner is not.  A runner doesn’t have tons of steel to protect them if they get hit. There are some butthead runners too, so please don’t think I’m just slamming on drivers.

The truth is that everybody is responsible for everybody else along with being responsible for themselves.  Keep that in mind when you’re out on the road, whether you’re driving or running.  Be aware, be courteous, and be responsible.

9 thoughts on “Tuesday Tip: Tips for Drivers Regarding Runners

  1. Outstanding post. I remember running into these issues (ha, pun!) especially when I lived in PA. Now that I’m in DC, I’m stuck on sidewalks for life.

  2. Oooooh, you forgot #5: Stop signs mean “stop,” not “Roll through the sign, over the crosswalk, and potentially over the runner who was in front of you.” The reason there is a stop line is so you can come to a complete stop BEFORE the cross walk and check the sidewalks and shoulders for peds before pulling forward to check for oncoming traffic.

    And #6: If you see a runner in a crosswalk, thereby meaning you need to slow down to allow said runner to cross, do not honk at said runner to show your displeasure with having to follow the @#$%! law. Especially if you are a marked city vehicle.

  3. This is too funny and true! I get so sick and tired of dealing with cars nearly hitting me every morning. You are right…we are allowed to run on the road. lol.

  4. Great tips!! I have definitely had some interesting encounters and I run on the sidewalk. I agree that we as runners need to be aware of where we are going and don’t assume people in cars can see you. But as drivers we need to have some respect for the runners & bikers for that matter. Thank you for sharing these.

  5. I think this a great post- all really true and important info! I never get annoyed by runners when I’m driving, but I must say that I have a really hard time with bikers. Especially bikers who think they are cars. That’s a tough one.
    Have a great Wednesday!

  6. Now if only the drivers would read this!

    I am often an early morning driver, and it scares me to be out in my car with the other half-aware drivers! I have been running in the mornings a bit (at 3:30 today! yikes!) and I just stick to the park. I am too worried about getting hit.

    And why don’t people look when the back up? WTF?!

  7. Mirvineclp says:

    Great post. I live in an area with no sidewalks, so I have no choice, but to run in the road. I have had people purposely aim for me. Pretty scary. Especially when I can smell the strong scent of reefer as the car passes by.

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