Car Crash- Stourbridge by Ian Hampton

Photo by Ian Hampton
Chicken is a game where two people rush at one another head on to see who will flinch first and rush off of the path. If neither person swerves out of the way, or they swerve in the same direction, there will be a collision. If you are a cyclist, runner, or other pedestrian then I highly recommend against trying to play chicken with an automobile. In fact, I recommend against the game anyway.

When you play chicken with an automobile, you will lose. If there is a collision, the passengers in the automobile have a thousand pounds or more of metal and plastic in which to cocoon themselves. You do not. If you and the car run into one another, you might dent it (or you might not) but the car will definitely dent you. If you swerve, then you wind up off of the road and you have lost. Try not to twist an ankle. If the car swerves, then they will hopefully avoid colliding with anything else. In my experience, though, the car will rarely swerve.

You may not have intentionally wanted to play chicken with the car. Maybe you just weren’t paying attention, and ran a little too far into the road. Or maybe visibility was poor, or the driver wasn’t paying attention. Just remember that no matter who is at fault, the runner will always lose.

At lunch time today, I played chicken with an automobile. Visibility was poor, but if you ignored the law requiring headlights with windshield wiper use then it was not so poor that headlights were required to see. None of the other drivers had any trouble picking out my bright yellow reflective jacket. The driver quite obviously had no idea that I was there, though. Between not paying attention to me, and tailgating the person in front of them, they did not see me until I jumped off of the road into the snow. They also decided to swerve, but had I not jumped they would have still hit me anyway. Thankfully, nobody was coming in the other direction at the time.

Nobody believes that they can get hit by a car until it has happened to them. This is one of the reasons that I never wear headphones when I run on public roads. I just can not afford the distraction and I am always going under the assumption that every car that I come upon is going to hit me. If you were smart, you would also operate under the same assumption. It could help you to save your life.

One of my newsletter articles specifically describes how I avoid getting hit by a car and the steps that I take when I go out for every run.