Yesterday afternoon, I went out for a run and almost didn’t make it back. I was headed for the park near my house where I run almost every day. I stopped at the intersection, a three-way stop, right before the park’s entrance. Cars were waiting at two of the three stop signs. Both drivers waved me across. I looked at the third stop sign. No cars in sight. I started running across the street. Suddenly, all I could see was headlights barreling towards me. I flung myself backwards. I thought this is it. Tires screeched. I closed my eyes. When I opened them, I was sitting on the asphalt, the car two inches from my legs. Two inches. Dazed, but unscathed, I pulled myself up from the ground. The driver looked at me for a second, then hit the gas, and went flying down the road. One of the drivers who’d been waiting for me to cross got out of his truck and asked if I was OK. He offered to go after the driver who almost hit me, but the guy was already long gone. He’d been speeding, blew the stop sign, and almost ran me over. He didn’t even stop to apologize or see if I was hurt. I told the man in the truck I was alright and walked back home, wobbly and shaken.
In all the years I’ve been running, I’ve had a few “almosts” with cars. I once jumped on the bumper of an SUV when the lady driving didn’t see me as she was pulling out of her driveway. Last summer, an impatient motorist decided he didn’t have time to wait for me at the exact same intersection. In all of these incidents, the drivers were going only a few miles per hour, so I had plenty of time to react. This time not so much.
I’m sure you’re thinking “be careful,” or “look before you cross the street!” I was doing both those things. I’d stopped and waited to cross. I was wearing a neon orange hat and no headphones. I’d looked all three directions before crossing. There was nothing else I could have done. There was no way for me to see that driver or know he’d blow the stop sign at such a high speed. It wasn’t may fault. It was my scariest running moment ever.