Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Turning right while looking left

I was not hurt but last night it finally happened after 8 years of running. I got hit by a car.

I was going to yoga class at the Community Center after work, running along a secondary arterial road, next to the curb by the sidewalk on the left side. From there I could watch for approaching traffic and if I came upon a parked car that would force me into the traffic lane when a car was coming, I could get up on the sidewalk. An SUV was driving up to a stop sign on a side street on my left that I was starting to cross.

I couldn’t see where the driver was looking because this gas-wasting Detroit monstrosity was too frickin’ tall. I now suppose that the driver was merely looking to her left as she approached the stop sign at the T-intersection, making sure that she didn’t get hit by an approaching vehicle with the right-of-way as she made a right turn onto the through-street I was running along. Pedestrians to her right crossing the side street? Let them eat cake!

A car was approaching. I guess the SUV driver decided that, having slowed for the stop sign, she should accelerate into her turn to beat the oncoming car. I was watching her vehicle and had skirted out into the roadway a little to give it some leeway but suddenly there was this wall of metal coming right at me.

"Hey!" I yelled as the bumper came into me and I put out my hands to fend off the car. The SUV was pushing me and I didn't want to fall underneath it. Really, I had nowhere to go.

I grabbed a fistful of grill with one hand and pushed off to see if I could somehow propel my body around to the side of the SUV. Its hood was too high up to try to hop onto but I used my other hand to whack it with my water bottle. The vehicle lurched to a sudden stop.

I screamed, "What’s the matter with you!" and flung my water bottle into the SUV’s bumper. It rebounded and rolled away rapidly across the road. The approaching car also stopped. I ran after my water bottle, retrieved it and stood up to glare at the offensive driver. She sat there immobile behind the wheel, face frozen, staring at me with both fists crammed into her mouth.

Fortunately I wasn’t injured, although I had jammed the middle finger of my right hand. So I couldn’t even give her the bird. What are you gonna do?

After scowling for a second, I ran off to my yoga class, after which I ran a measured mile back to my house in 6:54. It felt good to be alive.


Dori said...

Yeah, they do suck! And she was probably talking on her cell phone. That´s my worst nightmare. I´m so glad you didn´t get hurt, but I would have taken her insurance info and gotten checked out just to make sure.

Another use for a water bottle. I hope it made a dent in her hood.

Anonymous said...

oh my goodness peter! i would have freaked out for sure! you're a better man than me -- i woulda yelled or something, but that might have caused more trouble. i'm sure that woman won't forget that she almost killed someone today - i hope it shook her to the core!
glad you're safe!

Susan said...

It maybe a good thing that you jammed your finger... wow.

I am so thankful that you were not hurt.

6:54 -- holy cow. Adrenaline rocks!

runninggeezer262 said...

Glad you're OK. I've had one close call, but never ended up as a hood ornament. Is it illegal to give a gesture with the left hand? :-) Be safe out there.

Rainmaker said...

Wow, that's scary. Good to hear you're all right.

And then a 6:54 mile? Dang...perhaps...just perhaps we can stage something in the future with cars right before a race - then you'll be able to rock it! Just sayin'...

Still, glad your safe!

David said...

I have reservations about the degree of relaxation you achieved in your yoga session. Given the 6:54 pace home I am thinking your springs were still pretty tight.

I expected to read about you changing into your HP persona and writing her a ticket or something.

Lucky day.

Mike Fox said...

Since I do about 90% of my running on the roads, this is my worst nightmare during a run as well.

I'm glad to hear that you are OK and I hope that the driver of the SUV was freaked out enough that she will pay more attention to what's going on around her.

peter said...

Thank you all for your concern!

ShirleyPerly said...

OMG! I'm so glad you weren't injured and that I looked further down to see this post. Indeed, after a guy nearly grabbed me while I was out running one day, I probably broke a new record running home from all the adrenaline. Need to find a way to bottle it ...

jeanne said...

GOOD LORD. I. HATE.SUVS. I'm glad you're safe. I would have been in that woman's face screaming. And I'm with Dori: I would have forced her to give me her id and insurance, just to scare the crap outta her!

cuz i'm mean that way.

I got stuck in the middle of the intersection near work, bradley blvd., as the light changed, and instead of slowing down to let me cross safely, this SUV decided that he just HAD to speed up as I ran across, and THEN lay on his horn for good measure.

My middle finger, and my voice, worked just fine.

I'm guessing he was a brain surgeon on his way to perform a delicate operation.


Bex said...

That woman's lucky you let her off easy. And I'm glad you're alive and well - otherwise, who's going to run Leg 6 of the Tahoe Relay? :-)

Just12Finish said...

Lucky break for you there - it could have been much worse. Glad you survived!

Abby said...

Thank googness I am coming late to this post. Aiyahhhh Peter, don't argue with SUVs. I hope you are not still feeling the effects 4 days later.