Category Archives: safety

Safety first

 

Can you smell when it's about to rain? The air is completely different. I can always tell.

 

My darling boyfriend likes to give me grief for my claims that I can smell when it’s going to rain. I really can, I’m not making it up, but he doesn’t always believe me. Actually, come to think of it, he might believe me but just likes to let me think he doesn’t . . .

I digress.

After a very long summer, it seems that the rainy season has finally hit the Bay area. Today’s weather made me so incredibly grateful that I managed to get new tires for my car yesterday — talk about good timing.

I’m looking forward to rainy trail runs — something tells me that as much as I like trail running, I’m going to love it even more when I’m sloshing through puddles, dodging mud and leaping over slick rocks. Okay, that last part is a bit of an exaggeration, but hey, it could happen.

You’ve probably heard it a zillion times, but safety is so important in rainy weather. Walking to the office at my apartment complex in flip flops this afternoon was a bit treacherous — with soft bottoms on the shoes and slick tile on the walkway, I darn near slipped more than a few times. (Note to self: bring this up to the manager — I can’t be the only one experiencing that.)

Here are a few ways I’m trying to stay safe as the rain works its way into my season:

For my car:

– New tires. My old ones were pretty much bald. If you need new tires, now’s about the time to do it — get them on now before the roads start to get really bad. I cannot stress this enough. My tires were causing braking problems — my brakes weren’t slowing the car fast enough at times. I took my car to America’s Tire and I cannot speak highly enough of them. Seriously wonderful — lots of selection in stock, several budget-friendly varieties. Get your tires checked and make sure you have enough traction before you end up in traction.

 

What my old car looked like after my brakes failed. The smashed windshield is from where the airbag deployed -- kicking up a panel that popped the glass.

 

– Brake check. Midas will do a comprehensive brake check – for free. Jump on this. Check your brakes now before you’re more likely to see sudden, weather-related stops on the freeway. The photo to the left was taken two years ago after my car accident. I tried to brake when traffic suddenly stopped on a busy street but my brakes were soft and I skidded into the back of someone’s Honda Accord. Nobody was hurt (shaken up and a little sore, but no injuries), though both of my airbags deployed, leaving me with a small scar from the rugburn I got as the driver’s airbag came out at 120 mph (for serious – airbags come out that fast.) Take my word for it – GET. THE. BRAKES. CHECKED.

– Windshield wipers. When was the last time you replaced their blades? My mom told me to do this at least once a year. I don’t know how true that is (ask a mechanic), but if you’re noticing that they’re not wiping your windshield as clean, it might be time to put a new pair on — they make a world of difference for visibility, which makes a world of difference when you’re talking about not colliding with someone else’s car . . . or just someone else.

While I’m running:

– LED lights. I actually need to get a new one, but be as bright as you can (physically and mentally) when you’re out running. As it’s getting darker earlier, wear bright colors, wear light colors, wear anything you can that’s reflective and get yourself some bright little lights to clip/strap on you so you are as visible as you can be.

– Run facing traffic. Bicycles need to ride with traffic, but smart runners know that if you can’t see a car, it’s just as easy for a car not to see you. Run facing traffic so you have the ability to dodge a rogue minivan if need be — but watch driveways and parking lot exits to your left, they will be turning right to go with traffic. Be vigilant!

How are you staying safe in the rain?