• callum posted an update 5 months ago

    Nearly run over a runner in the dark!! Dark narrow road, raining, doing under 30 mph (the speed limit on the road). Car approaching me with brighter than normal headlights though not on full beam.

    Just as we pass each other, I see a runner with a hi viz jacket and a head torch who was completely masked by the oncoming car headlights. I just manage to miss them by swerving. I return to check on runner, get a mouthful of abuse.

    There is a flat wide verge of grass on that piece of road. Would YOU continue to run on the actual road when you can see that two cars are about to pass each other, on a road which is only just wide enough for two vehicles, when it’s dark and raining, not withstanding the hi viz and headlight, and there’s a flat grassy verge at the side?

    • Almost kills runner.

      Blames runner.

      Law wouldn’t agree.

      • so you would deliberately put yourself in a dangerous position when you didn’t need to? And btw, I didn’t even touch the runner, despite his arrogance in assuming he could be seen, which in this case, he couldn’t.

    • don replied 5 months ago

      The road is wide enough for two cars to pass. So it is wide enough for you to pass the runner without swerving. What on earth were you doing on their side of the road?

      • Err they were running towards me, on my side of the road, as is correct according to the Highway Code.

        Because of the dark, and the on-coming headlights, the runner’s hi viz and headlight were completely invisible.

        • don replied 5 months ago

          On a road only just wide enough to pass, you admit you were blinded by the oncoming car headlights. So surely you must have reduced your speed to walking pace to ensure you can stop in the distance you can see. So why the drama on your behalf?

          • I wasn’t blinded as such, but I do know the road extremely well, (I live on it) and it is wide enough for two cars to pass. My point is, if I was running in dark and rain, and there was a wide flat grassy verge, I would certainly move on to it while two cars passed each other rather than assume I’ve been seen…

            • don replied 5 months ago

              Grassy verges are shit to run on in the rain, and at this time if year probably very soft and muddy. All I am getting from this is that you did not slow down sufficiently when your vision was impaired. Roads are generally made 30mph because you can expect pedestrians, and you should have been driving accordingly. If there had been sheep on the road you would have hit them, and probably blamed the sheep.

              Out interest can you post a google map link to where exactly this occurred.

    • Some people seem to have a rather undeveloped sense of self-preservation. They may feel they are in the right – and they may well be – but they will still be dead. As a runner, cyclist and driver I usually operate on the basis that everyone else on the road is totally incompetent and quite possibly out to kill me. It is an approach that has served me well over the years.

      • the problem being, because of the conditions he was invisible, but wouldn’t accept that at that particular moment he WAS invisible, through no fault of his or mine.

        • Exactly. I was not suggesting anyone was in the wrong or that you were incompetent or homicidal, merely that it pays to have the approach of ‘What might go wrong here?’ rather than ”I know my rights’ – which might fit nicely on a tombstone

    • “Would YOU continue to run on the actual road when you can see that two cars are about to pass each other,”

      No, and I would move to the verge for a single car before they would need to start preparing to pull out. If lacking a suitable verge I would stop and take up as little space as possible, assuming I’d made eye contact. This wouldn’t happen at night because I’m not dumb enough to run on unlit roads at night with nowhere to go away from a car. I’ve got my rights, but the right to get myself killed doesn’t interest me.

    • jam replied 5 months ago

      Don’t worry about it. Not your fault and the knobjead is unhurt.

    • el replied 5 months ago

      Anybody who doesn’t step to the side when an approaching vehicle is possibly going to hit them is not thinking clearly.

    • guy replied 5 months ago

      I don’t know of any runner that tries to get themselves hurt when out running in the dark though some don’t do themselves any favours with their choice of route or clothing.

      Hi-viz, headtorch and running facing the oncoming traffic is indicative of someone trying to do the right thing.

      I run about 1500 miles a year at the mo. Plenty of that is in the dark. At this time of year the verges are muddy, slippy and a recipe for a fall. In my very rural location some of the footpaths are so mud-coated and slippery that they are dangerous to walk on, let alone run on.

      We can’t speak for the runner in question, but it sounds as though he was doing his best to stay safe on his run.

      Why didn’t he use the verge? How does he know that the verge is nice and flat, doesn’t suddenly end, isn’t full of dog shit, isn’t full of brambles…? It’s dark. We don’t know. Perhaps it’s worth giving the guy a break and seeing the situation through HIS eyes rather than yours.

      Plenty of occasions I have had near misses with drivers – normally because they are not paying attention or are driving too fast for the conditions. Sometimes a stroppy driver takes offence to me using the road and comes back to hurl abuse at me. They have got a mouthful back. When you returned to this runner, what exactly did you hope to achieve? If he gave you abuse I suspect you didn’t open the conversation with an apology or concern for his wellbeing…

      There are local roads that I could run on which I just won’t use because they are too dangerous – twisting, fast and “rat runs”. It’s not worth getting killed for. That’s being sensible over exercising my rights. I would be interested to know where this particular incident was to see how I would personally approach it.

      Runners need to be sensible and take many things into account. Other than not stepping onto the verge, what is it that you feel the runner did wrong?

      • mutt replied 5 months ago

        Good post.

        I would also point out to the OP, who seems like a good guy and did the right thing, that people who feel they might have almost been killed (regardless of who might be to blame) are often a little shaken up and might not behave as you want them to.

        Well done for stopping to check on them and showing your concern though. I am sure they might think about it later when they have calmed down with less adrenaline pumping!

    • As a runner and driver here is my approach…

      I always run facing into traffic (I’ve had abuse from drivers who don’t seem to like this….). Whether light or dark, when a car approaches me I check over my shoulder to see if anything is coming the other way (this also means my headtorch swings around if it’s dark making me more obvious). If nothing is coming from behind I hold my line on the road but keep a close eye on oncoming car to make sure it is slowing or pulling out. If they don’t or there is a car coming from behind I move onto verge and if that means coming to a halt because it’s not ‘suitable’ so be it.

      I’m thoroughly aware how hard it can be to make the correct decision as a car driver on short notice and accurately judge what’s going on, how much space there is and how fast each of the 3 participants are moving relative to each other – especially when drivers brain may still be trying to process precisely what the light/shape on their side of the road actually is and what it’s doing. Self preservation and the simple fact that even if I don’t get run over I have no desire to contribute to somebody else having an accident/running into the oncoming car/losing wing mirrors or whatever.

      I’m afraid your average motorist may not be looking for a runner. In the dark with headlights etc they can be hard to spot despite lights and hi-viz and it’s hard to guess what they will do and as I say, judging relative speeds in dark while your brain processes the odd information that there’s a light/reflective blob on your side of road can be tough.

      I hope that oncoming drivers see me checking over my shoulder and appreciate I’m taking some responsibility for my safety and road conditions and I love the drivers who put their indicator on and/or pull out early so I don’t need to guess if they have seen me until last minute. I also love drivers who dip their headlamps… running towards them shading my eyes with my hand so I don’t get dazzled should perhaps give the hint that dipped headlamps apply to all oncoming road users, not just other cars.

    • ted replied 5 months ago

      Great to see such a discussion on the finer points of running safety. If you ran along a road at night in Africa you would almost certainly fall into a sewer that was missing its cover and people would assume you had gone mad or had stolen something. If you ran along a road in America at night you would probably be hit by a texting SUV driver or a redneck in a pickup; when my Mum and I suggested walking back from my brother’s wedding venue to the hotel, which we could see half a mile away through the woods, we were told in no uncertain terms that nobody would consider that we were walking for exercise or pleasure and we would probaly be taken for burglars and shot.

    • Ali replied 5 months ago

      I don’t like to be visible when running. Drivers do silly things when you are obvious. I agree with the other comments that you have to keep out the way and not expect cars to avoid you.

    • If you’d killed him, I’d have filed under sh!t happens.

      Just his bad luck to meet you at the precise moment you have been momentarily dazzled.

      It holds true that sometimes in life you make your own luck. Running in the dark on such a road is a risk but if you are into your running and that’s where you live, it’s just what you have to do… Hopefully he does it with a realistic appreciation of the dangers.

      Just as it’s not practical to instantly come to a halt every time someone’s headlights are too bright, I can see that, from the runner’s point of view, running on a dark verge isn’t going to work. If it where I, running in those conditions, I’d hope I was ready to react to an approaching danger such as yourself. I’d certainly not assume I was going to be seen 100% of the time.

      Thankfully, a near-miss this time.

    • em replied 5 months ago

      This happened on a road I regularly run on. Motorists are completely unaware of events unfolding right before their eyes and are only concerned with ‘making progress’. Even at 30mph I’d suggest you slow down if you can’t see, you run the risk of driving into the back of a stationary car.

      In the clip you can see the driver was going for the overtake in a dangerous position and had no intention of slowing down.


    • dave replied 5 months ago

      Where were you going that was so important that you didn’t slow down when you were dazzled by the oncoming headlights.

      Its pure luck you didn’t kill the runner, how would you have lived with yourself if that had happened?

      • pete replied 5 months ago

        He didn’t say he didn’t slow down when dazzled. I would have naturally taken my foot of the gas at the very least. Perhaps he did the same, we don’t know, but we shouldn’t assume he kept his foot on the gas when he did not say that.

        Secondly, it isn’t really pure luck. He was under the speed limit and was able to swerve to avoid the runner. Luck would have been exceeding the speed limit and narrowly missing the runner having not noticed him at all.

        However, I do agree it would be difficult to live with yourself and we shouldn’t assume the way is clear when we cannot see it. I had the misfortune of being knocked off my bike by a van who was blinded by low morning sun on a smeary windscreen. He was at a T-junction and I was on the main road and he just pulled out right into me. I thought he was deliberately trying to kill me as he must have been looking straight at me. Luckily he stopped moving due to the noise of impact and didn’t go over my sprawling body or knock me into the path of oncoming traffic. He was in a right state as a result (shaking) and I had to console him!