Friday, November 20, 2009

Hazardous Run Results in Car Collision

You've probably all heard the stories of runners at night/early morning wearing dark clothes and getting hit out of nowhere. You may have even seen some of these apparitions as you've driven. I remember driving with my folks and having near-incidents (my father also used to play the verbal game of "how many points for hitting the runner" with variances depending upon the method of contact). But until you on either end of the experience you really can't comprehend just how life-flashing an incident it really can be.

Today was my day and I actually collided with a car. Just prior to this I had a prompting to watch carefully and approach with caution. Now I now why. Here are the details.
  • around 5:45AM and raining (had rained all night)
  • 4+ miles into a 7 mile run
  • I was wearing all black with reflective material built into the jacket, shoes and running tights.
  • soaking wet
  • was crossing a driveway in front of a neighborhood Wal-Mart
  • Left turning vehicle from across the street appears to have seen me as they came to a complete stop and waited for my passing
  • On-coming vehicle in the driveway approached me
  • I waved to them as I slowed down, approached the intersection vector
Here's where it gets fun. As I came to their left front bumper, the Pontiac Grand Prix (also black) started to accelerate. I could see how it could possibly play out in my mind's eye and in slow motion as the event happened in real time: a Duke's of Hazard style roll across the front hood of the vehicle, a crunch into the windshield/trip to the e-room, or getting squashed under the car and an immediate game over. Blessed by the Lord's name that none of these visions came to fruition. Instead, I slammed my hand hard against the hood of the car. From the acceleration of his moving vehicle and my plant of my hand against the hood, my body elevated causing both feet to come off the ground. Within a split second my gait returned and I found myself planted back on the wet drive, turning to motion to the driver that he just got lucky with my hands outstretched, my mouth dropped in exasperation and a scowl of a look.

I didn't look back after that but a few moments later the same vehicle came cruising past with his window down, desperately apologizing for the collision to which I wished him a good day and kept running. Talk about an adrenaline rush. My heart raced for a bit as I reviewed in my mind and soul what had just transpired and how blessed I was to have avoided a devastating experience.

Lessons learned:
  • consider attire with more reflectors/lighter clothing during pitch black runs
  • let cars that are coming at a perpendicular angle have the right of way
  • any car coming out of a Wal-Mart parking lot that early in the morning is either pre-caffeinated and not alert or just finished a grave shift and not alert: DON'T TRUST THEM!
  • Running is still fun and makes for interesting stories!

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