Did you know that stop signs aren’t in effect at 5:30 in the morning?
Neither did I. So imagine my surprise when I first started running early in the mornings when it’s dark, that many cars don’t seem to stop fully at stop signs. Or in some cases, at all. I wish I were kidding, but it would appear that most drivers at that time of the morning are either too tired to properly drive, or they just assume that there aren’t any pedestrians at that time of day.
What surprises me even more is how many other runners are out at that time in all dark clothing. It wouldn’t be that bad if they were sticking to the sidewalk- although I still think this is dangerous- but many times they’re running on street. Drivers should certainly exercise extreme caution when it’s dark out and they are in residential areas, but us runners need to do our part as well.
Initially, I shunned all safety lights promoted in the running stores and magazines. It just seemed like one more expense, and I primarily stayed on the sidewalk (at the time). But after one too many close calls with cars rolling through their stop signs, I decided my safety was worth the extra money. Besides, no one was going to see me looking ridiculous at that time of the morning.
So here’s my morning cold weather get-up:
When I first got the vest, my husband joked that it may have the opposite effect by causing seizures in the drivers. I wasn’t feeling the head lamps because I wasn’t sure I’d like having something attached to my head and was afraid it would slide down. I also think that smaller clip lights just don’t cut it. So I settled on the obnoxious vest. I can’t say for certain that it’s helping people stop more frequently by seeing me ahead of time. But at least I know I’m doing my part to help the cars see me and give them a chance to slow down.
If you exercise outside when it’s dark out, please be sure to at least dress lightly and in reflective clothing. And at least consider investing in some sort of lighting fixture- there are lots of studies out there that document how much better drivers can see you with a bright light than just reflective clothing.
Fitness for the Mind:
In Los Angeles, star pro football running back, Jackie Robinson, was thrilling fans of the Los Angeles Bulldogs. The Bulldogs were one of the many flimsy professional gridiron teams that had sprung up around the West and the South in the late ’30’s and ’40’s, and Robinson, in an athletic class of his own, ran roughshod over opponents. Robinson would later switch games and break the color barrier in the Major League Baseball after the war…[but] by 1942…Robinson was in uniform.
– “December 1941: 31 Days that Changed America and Saved the World”
By: Craig Shirley