Vlog–Runner Needs Your Advice

I received this question from a reader / runner today who got hit by a car during a run. She’s okay, but would like some advice on how to bounce back after you’ve been hit by a car on a run.

Runner’s World has an old article about How to Avoid Being Hit By a Car While Running

I found that while researching what to do after getting hit by a car on a run and unfortunately there is NOT a lot of advice out there. So, let’s round some up…

Have you ever been hit by a car? Any tips for this runner on how she/he can get back out there?

Comments

  1. says

    I got t by a truck while riding my bike once. The guy just took off. I wasn’t hurt so much but scared. Now I always make eye contact with drivers. People aren’t looking out for you you have to look out for yourself.i

    • Roger says

      I run very early in the morning and have had 2 or 3 near misses. I have started to wear lights on the fronts of my legs and on the back of my arms so that I can be seen in both directions. I also wear a reflective vest and recently got a baseball hat with led lights in it to light a path in front of me. You really need to keep your eyes open people just assume because it is early no one is in the cross walks.

  2. says

    She should try running in a local park. This hasn’t happened to me but I’ve been running in the dark lately around my neighborhood and it scares me. But when I get a chance to run with a friend, I head out to a park and run safely with no worries. Hope she gets well soon. (And I wrote this while the video was still going on, haha, so I hadn’t heard the park suggestion until it was done)

  3. says

    I was hit by a car when on my bike once. Since then I am very cautious at intersections. Drivers are not looking for you, so you have to be proactive. I will wave at a driver and wait for them to wave back before crossing. It can break your gait, but it’s better than getting hit.

    It changed me as a driver, too. I try to look at the sidewalk and not put the nose of my car in the crosswalk because that’s obnoxious to people running and walking by.

  4. says

    I was hit by a car a few weeks ago and actually blogged about it. It was really scary and my advice is to be smarter than the drivers on the road. Don’t always assume they’re going to give you the right of way or stop when they’re supposed to stop. A lady went plowing through an intersection and got me when she wasn’t actually allowed to be turning left. Wear bright colors (especially if you run in the dark) and get a ROAD ID, too. I wear mine everywhere.

  5. Stephanie says

    I’ve never been hit, but I actually know a couple people who have. First, please make sure you are able to exercise. One of my relatives thought she was fine (went back to work right away) but had lingering effects such as headache, fatigue, insomnia, etc. And try not to get upset if you do have a heath set back – you are healing!

    I would definitely do some treadmill runs to test yourself out and get comfortable with running again. Personally I hate running inside so I understand wanting to get back outside (whenever it stops snowing). I know parks with enough space to run aren’t common in Boston but I would at least try the esplanade a few times before going back out on a real street. I know summer is a long way off but Mem Drive is closed to cars on Sundays during the summer so that might be another safer option for you (even if you are running on streets by then it might be nice to give yourself a break from the stress of it).

    Hope this helps in a small way!

  6. says

    I was hit by a car a year ago. Although I didn’t break any bones thankfully, I had some bone bruises and was pretty sore for a several weeks. I saw the doctor frequently, every time a new ache or pain came up, just to make sure I was well. I started back running slowly and didn’t push myself too hard for awhile. It was pretty frustrating. I was also pretty nervous crossing the street running for a few months. Stay on the car insurance company! The other guy’s company dropped the ball a few times and I had to follow up a lot with them. It was quite a nuisance.

  7. says

    I’ve never been hit but I have had some close calls. I’d try some treadmill runs first to get back into it. I also would try to run trails and paths that don’t cross roads until I was comfortable with traffic again.

  8. says

    So scary! I remember there was a fantastic article a few months back last year in Runner’s World Magazine that had two professional runners that had been severely hit by a car. They were in fact told they would never run again but they run today again. I’m sure if you look or write to Runners’ World they will give you the article (unfortunately I don’t have it anymore) and give information on how to get back into running again.

  9. says

    I run in DC and during the winter I don’t run on trails or in parks on weeknights because it’s dark and deserted and I heard someone got attacked and then other people got attacked by owls… It was a whole thing. I also hated running and crossing streets because a) the starting and stopping killed my flow and b) I was always worried someone would hit me. My compromise was to basically run laps around the exact same 4/10 of a mile block, which was how I did 5-10 mile weeknight runs to get ready for my first marathon in January. It sucked and got boring but I got to run outside for the miles I needed and it was still more interesting than the treadmill… I am eagerly awaiting daylight savings and for all the other runners to come back outside.

  10. says

    I was hit by a car in 2010, and it was a life changing experience. The most important thing is to really start slow and make sure you are healed! I had a lot of anxiety and even some depression in those first few weeks and months afterward. A trauma like that can really affect your sense of trust and security with all of those around you. I started back to running by going on trails so I didn’t have to worry or think about traffic – it definitely helped. I was jumpy at intersections and crossing the street for at least a year afterward. Remember you need to give your body AND your mind enough time to heal!

  11. Amy says

    I help coach a group of runners local to me and as part of our coaching, we went through a month long certification course which included safety, of course. We had a local attorney (also a runner) come in and speak to us about the biggest factors in running safety. Always make sure to run facing traffic so you can see them coming. If it’s dark, wear reflective gear 365*, not just on your front or back as drivers will be more likely to see you. Blinking lights that mimic a car’s lights (red behind you, white in front) are more likely to catch a driver’s attention as well. And of course, bringing a phone with you, running with a buddy and running without music are other biggies.

  12. says

    I hope this reader gave the driver a piece of her mind for not stopping immediately!

    That being said, like Monica pointed out, car accidents are tough. I have been rear-ended several times (none to the point of getting hurt, thank God) and it is really difficult to get back in the car and look in the rearview window and cringe when I see a car behind me. But the more I have done it, the more confidence I gain. As Monica points out, start running again on the treadmill. Maybe go to a park. Walk to the park for the first few times. Gradually start to jog there slowly. It will be hard, but gradually (I hope!) you will gain confidence. Good and very worthwhile topic.

  13. says

    My sister was hit while walking, and while there were no serious injuries she did have some nagging ones that still bother her two years later. More than anything it was how she was psychologically effected- to this day she is very cautious. I think more than anything you have to embrace your fears and take baby steps to get on back there. Taking extra precautions may also be comforting- wear bright colors, reflectors at night, go with a friend, etc…

  14. Rachael P says

    Talk about being traumatized during a run. I was held up at gun point while out for a morning jog. They held a gun to my head, took my phone and drove off. Also, I live in a neighborhood w/ alleys and people don’t always look while pulling out of the alley, so once I was almost hit by a car driving too fast. I wish people would pay more attention to pedestrians. Can’t do much about the robber, but it just sucks. DON’T RUN WITH YOUR PHONE.

  15. says

    This puts a pit in my stomach and I feel terrible for her. I had a VERY near miss this fall. Broad daylight…car stopped at a stop sign, I waved and thought that I had made eye contact (crossing at a neighborhood intersection). I really believe it was divine intervention b/c really I have no idea how I managed to get out of the way when she punched the gas pedal and came straight at me. (She stopped, we both cried…she said she ‘wasn’t looking’)

    That being said, this happened while I was out of town visiting family. 10 minutes into a 2 hour run. I really wanted to turn around and go home immediately and take a looooong break from running on the road. But I somehow convinced myself that since I was physically OK, I would use this as extremely tough mental training. Don’t get me wrong there were a couple of times that I stopped during the run to sob on the side of the road, but I kept going.

    I always considered myself to be an “aware” and safe runner and now I am super-hyper-vigilant. To the point that my running buddy teases me. But that’s OK, b/c I am here…and while none of us are guaranteed tomorrow, I am going to try and be as safe as possible.

    Take it slow…bring a friend if that would make you feel more comfortable.

  16. says

    Hm. Have not had this happen to me, but I will offer this: If you find yourself obsessing over it, try to keep in mind possibility vs. probability. Is it *possible* you could get hit by a car? Yes. Is it *probable*? No. Then ask yourself how likely it is that the same person could be hit by a car *twice.” Regardless of who was at fault, I’m sure that from now on you will be extra careful, and that may be all the protection you need. I really think the universe has a way of looking out for us like this. Hope you are feeling better soon (and thanks Monica for the conversation, it’s a good topic).

  17. averagewomanrunner says

    I got tagged (not serious at all, just enough to make me angry) by a car once and my response was to punch their hood. It scared the daylights out of the driver because they hadn’t even noticed I was there. Hello! Then, I kept running, but very fast because my adrenaline was pumping. For people in more serious situations, I would hope they do get back out there, be sure to make eye contact with drivers, wear lights & bright colors, try to run in low traffic areas or times of day. Not sure there is much else that can be done.

  18. Tracy says

    My mom was hit by a car on her bike a few years ago. She was in the hospital for a week, broke her jaw (it was wired for months…!) and many other minor injuries. You never think it’ll happen to you but unfortunately these things happen! It’s awful- glad you are ok but I am sorry. Just stay strong. She slowlyyy built back up to riding outside but a few months later she was doing the same route! Even I am frightened to ride where she was hit. I suggest you slowly work up to it as well. Maybe start w treadmill or a running buddy? But I guarantee you will feel proud of yourself the first time you do that route again. Take it easy and slow and good luck!!

  19. says

    Wow! These comments are terrifying and are bringing back terrible memories. I got hit by a car on my bike when I was in middle school. I wasn’t injured too badly (stitches, but nothing was broken—well except my bike!). I have not been able to get on a bike ever since. I have tried and just cannot do it. Every time I look at my left leg I am reminded of the accident due to a large amount of gravel still being under my skin.

  20. Nicole says

    i was hit by a car running about 2 years ago and broke my jaw, nose, cheekbones, the bones around my eyes…basically every bone in my face. i had to have 3 reconstructive surgeries and while the plastic surgeon did a fantastic job, some things about my face will never be the same. so…i can relate! i don’t have any memory of the accident, so i think that helped my fear in getting back out running, but i would still have an awful feeling in the pit of my stomach when i heard a car. i try to stick to running trails/parks now. it’s much easier to get back out there when you can be sure there are no cars around (but unfortunate that events like this often spur a runner to abandon road runs permanently).

  21. Sarah says

    This is incredibly timed… a local woman here in Pennsylvania was just struck and killed by a car two days ago. She was doing all the right things, running on the correct side of the road, wearing reflective clothing and it was during the daytime so she was as visible as she could be, but the person driving was texting and didn’t even see her. It’s really a reminder of how super-vigilant we have to be as runners if you’re running on or near roads. You can do all the right things but you never know what the driver is doing or thinking.

    I have never been hit, myself, but have had close calls like many people have said. I am already terrified of running on roads and run mostly in my neighborhood or in parks and cemeteries so I don’t have to worry about it as much. I imagine if I ever did get hit, I’d probably stick to the treadmill for a while.

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