Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Stop, Look and Listen...and Ultrarunning

Image credit R. Berdar at Flickr, here.

Being the old guy that I am, I am a member of AARP (American Association of Retired Persons).  I recently took the on-line AARP Driver Safety Course to gain a discount on my auto insurance.

If you've ever taken any on-line training, you know that they run the gamut of difficulty: there are some totally easy courses, some in-between courses, and some real gonad-busters.

This course was easy in the sense of not even being pass-fail; rather, you just plow through it, take the unscored tests, and earn your certificate at the end.  It does take several hours, and there are no time shortcuts.  While much of the info presented was simply common sense, I actually did pick up some good advice.

What I wanted to focus on in this post pertains to the image above of the type of old railroad sign that used to be prevalent before crossing signals and flashing lights became the norm.  Much of the AARP course deals with strategies to address the reality of older drivers not being quite as aware of their surroundings and reacting slower.

So I've taken the old "Stop, Look and Listen" mantra to the roads when I run.  Since much of my local running is on curvy, hilly rural roads, often with minimal shoulders, I frequently change sides and even run on the "wrong" side of the road when doing so is actually the safest strategy for both me and any drivers I may encounter.  I am always thinking visibility: how can I best be seen and out of the line of fire.

But before I make any maneuvers, I really and truly literally stop, look, and listen so I don't wind up as roadkill.  I realize my situational awareness skills are not what they once were, so I take extra care to make certain that I know what's coming my using my eyes AND my ears.


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