Share The Road: How Drivers and Runners Can Coexist in Tampa Bay
Running is a sport loved by many athletes of all ages, and Florida is perhaps one of the most “runner-populated” areas in the Southeast thanks to our sunshine, our climate, and our typically flat terrain. These factors are also why you see a wide variety of 5Ks, 10Ks, marathons, and other running events held in the state of Florida each year, with a significant portion of them taking place in or around the Tampa Bay area. Running is a great way to stay in shape and enjoy the outdoors, but it can also pose significant risks if you choose to run in populated areas. Sharing the road with vehicles is oftentimes dangerous, and can be deadly. However, in an area where we have so many daily commuters and tourists, and so many runners, there has to be a way to coexist, right?
We believe there is, and we believe it starts with training for BOTH parties.
For drivers, distraction is one of the biggest weapons used against runners, although often used unintentionally. Texting, talking on the phone, eating, looking in the mirrors (for purposes other than driving), and even becoming distracted by other passengers in the car can take your eyes away from the road, and therefore leave those around you vulnerable to being hit and injured, or worse, killed. All it takes is a matter of seconds for a runner to cross in front of you at a crosswalk you weren’t paying attention to, and if you aren’t prepared to stop, it’s too late. Speed is another factor that leads to many runner-related collisions with vehicles. Crosswalks and pedestrian areas typically have lower speed limits than regular roadways, yet many drivers ignore these lowered limits and that can end in disaster. Watch for speed limit signs, and pay close attention to upcoming crosswalks when driving in populated areas.
For runners, always run defensively. Assume that drivers can’t see you, and dress/behave accordingly. This includes wearing reflective gear and/or bright colors, and running with lights if possible during early morning/later evening excursions. Avoid running alongside roadways if possible, opting for sidewalks instead. If you must run along the edge of a road, run in the direction FACING oncoming traffic, and if you see a car coming your way, attempt to move as far away from the road’s edge as possible. By treating all nearby vehicles as a potential threat, you’re more likely to avoid dangerous collisions and protect yourself.
We encourage you to get out and enjoy all that running has to offer in the Tampa Bay area! With the many races coming up, including the Publix Gasparilla Distance Classic this weekend, and our own HCBA Pro Bono River Run (Sessums Law Group is sponsoring again this April), there are always opportunities to get out and enjoy the scenery, get in shape, and perhaps give back to a good cause. If you or someone you love has been injured as a pedestrian due to the negligence of a driver, Sessums Law Group is here and we want to help. We get the compensation you deserve to help you move forward with life. When the unexpected happens, WE STAND FOR YOU!