Sunday, August 26, 2007

One of the Reasons I Carry a Cell Phone When I Run

You may recall from a recent episode of Running Adventures I talked about the things I take with me on a run. One of the items is my cell phone - which I bring for two important reasons. One is if I am unable to complete a run or get delayed so I can call home. The other is if I see anything on my run that may need to be reported. Today it was the latter.

I was about 6 miles into my run down busy Lockwood Blvd, and today there was the usual amount of traffic. As I was coming around a slight bend I saw a car drift from the left lane into the median, strike 3 sets of small trees, flip over 2 and a half times and land on its roof about 100 ft in front of me. I immediately ran up to the car and asked the driver if she was ok. She waved at me (all I could see was her arm) and said she was ok. Shakily I pulled out my cell phone and dialed 911 to report the accident. In spite of the state of her car, she was ok. The firemen and police came, and soon she was actually standing near her car and talking to the firemen. She is a night shift nurse just driving home from work.

While waiting for the tow truck, she was on her cell phone trying to reach someone in her family but no one was answering. She thought her husband might be outside working in the yard, so I asked her where she lived. It turns out she lives about a half mile away just around the corner so I offered to run over and see if anyone was home. Fortunately her husband was home - and he was outside working in the yard, just as she thought.

After heading back to the accident area to make sure the husband found her and to return the scrap of paper she wrote her address on, I decided just to head straight home from there since it was starting to warm up outside (it was about 9 am). I had also phoned home to let them know I was going to be a little late since I was hanging around the accident until no longer needed (reason 1 for having the cell phone).

As I spoke with my husband about it later, I realized that it is important to pay attention to the busy traffic around me when running. Any car could drift out of their lane and into the side walk. With so much traffic I tend to tune them out, but for now on I will be watching where the cars are more closely.

Another weird thing: this is the second traffic accident I have witnessed this week. The first one was while I was driving to work. The people in that one were ok as well.

It is off to the Washington, DC area this week for work. I am bringing my running and podcast gear along for the ride and will be reporting in from there!

Oh, and so far so good with the new shoes. They did great!

Run safely all!


Petraruns said...

Food for thought there Chris and you're right to be wary of traffic - I always take one earphone out when I'm running near cars..

Great to hear you're back on track and the shoes are working. Looking forward to more podcasts - keep the good stuff coming!

Drusy said...

Wow - what a scary experience! I usually carry my blackberry, just so family/work can contact me, but I've never needed it to call for help. I'm so glad the woman was not seriously injured.

Love your discussions with you daughter on the podcast!

ShirleyPerly said...

Glad to hear the woman was OK and your new shoes are working out. Keep running safe everyone!

Susan said...

Deputy Chris! Good job. I also am religious about taking my phone with me nowadays.

But here is another topic. I experienced this just today, so it is fresh on my mind.

People always ask me "Aren't you afriad you'll get hit by a car?" Well, in the grand scheme of things, YES... but generally not because of these observations: 8 oout of every 10 cars I encounter get so far on the other side of the road when they see me that they practically go into the ditch. They are GREAT! #9 will move over "just enough." Fine by me. But #10 does not move an inch and I end up having to "dive" for the ditch, grass, woods, etc. I hate #10!!!!!

Kevin said...

You be safe in DC Chris!

Maddy said...

Wow! That is just pure craziness! It's a good thing you were close by and were able to help!

I love that you ran to get her husband.

I'm glad she was not injured, you were not injured and it all worked out.

Safe Travels.

In Ardua Tendit said...

Definitely take your cell with you when running. I also carry a small amount of money with me when running, in case of emergencies. I use a fanny pack to keep my cellphone, money, iPod (can't stand arm bands), spare battery for my Polar footpod, and the odd snack for the run. I find that the extra weight is minimal and is quite comfortable to run with.

Regarding paying attention to the traffic around you, I always run facing oncoming traffic. That way, I see them before they see me - if they see me - and can take avoidance action if necessary.

That's a double-edged sword though. You need to be very, very careful when running past car parks. Cars exiting parking lots will usually look only in the direction that cars are coming from - and if you're running facing oncoming traffic, the driver coming out of the parking lot won't even glance in your direction. Give parking lots as wide a berth as possible so that you can see cars coming out before they get close enough to hit you.

So as they say - let's be careful out there...

Mike the Noob Runner said...

That's awful that there was an accident, but great that you were there and able to help and that the lady was OK.

I'm a teenager, and I'll still working on Mom & Dad letting me get a cell phone. With school starting, I have been running at 5:30AM now, and it's still dark for another hour.

I think I'll be getting a cell phone soon, for my safety, and in the event that I need to help somebody.

PLANET3RRY said...

man, I need to carry my cell phone with me, one it is just smart and two, I can be a super hero just like you! Wow!

Speaking of drifting cars. YOU ALWAYS ALWAYS ALWAYS have a contingency plan! In races it's a no brainer, we have them... they are called in-race strategy. When we are doing a training run, you have to know exactly what you are going to do if a dog comes out at you, someone approaches you, a car drifts toward you, a person throws something out you. Even if it's just "turn around and run home" we (as runners) cannot become deer in headlights when something is endangering us. We have to have that emergency plan ready. Especially on long runs we are very fatigued and even the granny who can't see above the dashboard has us on her radar, we have to be safe!

Great work!