03 April 2013

my way or the highway

as the snow insists on remaining a fixture of the landscape in my part of the province, my mind turns to thoughts of driving.

not instead of running ... just the mechanics and logistics of driving.  for two reasons:
  1. i run on the road - this may not be any kind of startling revelation to you, but not all runners run on the road.   many run on trails, and for some great reasons.  i see a lot of runners on the sidewalks (which is a last resort for me, because of the poor surface conditions in the winter and the higher density of concrete vs. asphalt).  still other runners run on the road, but with the flow of traffic.  i have always run against the flow of traffic - yes, on the 'wrong side of the road' to all you driving types - and have even gotten pulled over by the police for it.  the reasons that i run against traffic when on the road is purely for safety (as counter-intuitive as that may sound).  when facing oncoming vehicles, i have the opportunity to make eye contact with drivers and this is always a good idea when occupying the roadspace, whether you're on a bicycle, motorcycle, in a car or truck, or running or walking.  secondly, i can also exercise the option of having enough advance notice to dodge out of the way of a distracted or out of control driver - a luxury not afforded to me if my back is to the flow of traffic.

  2. i'm still learning about how to drive properly - just this morning i returned from our CSSE chapter meeting, and our president gave a very effective and enlightening presentation on high risk driving and assessment.  among the many notable things that he shared was the fact that most people (and i confess that i number among this group) do not have their side-view mirrors adjusted properly - and that because they are not set to provide the perspective that they should, the vast majority of drivers must check over-the-shoulder in order to avoid missing vehicles/cyclists/objects/runners in their blindspots.  ever since my learn-to-drive lessons as a 16 year old i was taught to wrench my neck around linda-blair style in order make sure that i was getting a full panoramic view of what was surrounding my car in transit.  but today, after some 25 years of driving i finally discovered that i'd been totally misusing my rear-view mirrors after being shown this video:

    i made the proper adjustments prior to leaving the parking lot after our meeting, and could not believe the difference that it made in becoming aware of all of the other traffic surrounding me on the road.  
yep, that's me ... still playing in traffic after all these years.


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