Dear Drivers Letter

5 Miles
Serious Strides

In the last month, I’ve had more close calls with cars than I am comfortable with (read about one here).  And I had another one recently which really got me thinking [we all know how dangerous this is]…and I decided to write a letter to drivers.

Dear Drivers,

I get it.  You’re busy.  

I get it.  It’s a road.  

I get that your mind is racing – filled with to do lists, places to be and wondering if you forgot your lunch.

I get that the coffee you just grabbed from Starbucks is hot and that you need to add another pack of Truvia to make it “just right”.

I even get that you think that said roads are mostly made for cars.  But what I don’t get is how you can continually ignore the people around you when you drive.

In fact, 90% of the time –  I’m you.  I’m behind the wheel dealing with the same distractions and temptations. I get that your phone pings, bings and even sings, beckoning and begging you to pick it up.  Like a 2 year old kid with their face nose to nose with yours, your phone implores you to “Pay attention to me!”.

Truth be told, I don’t even like running on roads.  But because people can’t keep their hands off of others and be nice, I have to stay off the trails during certain times when I’m running alone.

And despite my neon clothes, flashing lights, street smarts and best efforts, you still don’t see me.

So if common sense won’t prevail, let me remind you of some things.

I’m not just a runner.

I am Sheila.  Sure I’m a runner, but I’m so much more.  Please look beyond my laces and neon clothing I don so you can’t miss me.  I’m a mom.  In fact, if you hit me, there are 3 little boys who need their mom to make them dinner later today.  I’m a volunteer.  I’m a part of a spiritual community.  I’m an employee.  I’m a sister.  I’m an aunt.  I’m a teacher.  I’m a daughter.  I’m a cousin.  I’m a friend.  I’m a girlfriend.  I’m a colleague.  I’m a student.  

I have hours and hours of time and training put in to reach a goal, so please, don’t take me out at my knees.  You have hobbies too, right?  I promise to not come knock down that puzzle you worked really hard on when it’s almost done.  I won’t spill my coffee on your laptop taking away all of your hard work.  I won’t burn the dinner you made for your kids.

Just promise me this – next time you see a runner or biker on the street – remember they’re more than a 3 second delay in your busy day.  Promise me you’ll slow down before you make a turn.  You’ll look both left and RIGHT before making that right hand turn.  You’ll make sure no bikers or runners are in the bike lane before swerving into it.  And for the love of the land – please put down your cell phone down and let the latte sit until you get to your destination.  The runners, bikers and sidewalk rats in your life will thank you.

Signed,
Somewhat Speedy Sheila

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13 thoughts on “Dear Drivers Letter

  1. Sheila….wow…your right on target with me today! I went on a short night run at dinner hour last night. I had on what I thought was enough reflective on my jacket. (I guess not)
    I ran out of my neighborhood and up to the community theatre not far from the house. Not much traffic on military post… I turned around and ran home…I noticed more cars coming home by then from work and one went around me slowly and then pulled in front of his house. As I passed by him…very nicely he said that I was almost invisible from behind! (yikes!)
    Guess my jacket didn’t have enough reflective behind and I was running in black compression tights.
    Needless to say…your note to drivers hit right to my heart today….although I have a caring neighbor that told me I cold become road kill…(I thanked him)….
    And…
    I went to the website before I went to bed last night called: Don’t Get Hit dot com The website was started for that very reason that the runner was almost hit by a truck….. I ordered a running vest for women that was small and had white reflective on the front and back! :c)
    Thanks for the blog entry today. With shorter days and it getting darker earlier ….we need to pay attention…
    I may need to get a blinky thingie!
    Hugs and stay safe!

  2. Thanks for sharing this. while i’ve been in both instances i usually find myself being the one who is distracted… thanks for the reminder!

  3. I encounter a lot of negativity when I run on the roads. Around here, being a runner is probably last on a lot of other peoples’ to do lists, and so they don’t understand why I’m out there running in THEIR way. There is only so much car dodging I can do before my luck changes.

  4. My husband cycles year round in traffic to get to and from work and I run on roads so we both get this all the time. People really need to be reminded that the big steel box they are sitting in is huge and heavy and can kill people very quickly. I’m constantly amazed at the same time by runners and cyclists out at night (it seems like it’s always night in Toronto this time of year) wearing black with no lights. Pretty much a death wish in these conditions. Add a little snow or rain and it gets even worse.

  5. Thanks for this post! I luckily live in an area that has a lot of sidewalks, bike lanes and awesome paved trails, so running on the road is not so bad. However, it reminds me to be more aware as a driver since I do get distracted often!

  6. It’s because you live in SoCal, yo! I always nearly got killed when I was in Pasadena. And the worst part was that they wouldn’t even look sorry that they nearly killed me! They’d stare at me blankly, as if thinking, “Why in the WORLD is that pedestrian in the crosswalk?” I mean, we all make mistakes when driving, but when I nearly kill someone, I wave at them and give them an apologetic look…that’s all I’m asking for!

  7. Pingback: Sick Sunday | swim.run.eat

  8. Pingback: True Confession Thursday: Can You Find the Runner? | Striding Mom

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