Be aware of your surroundings
Be aware of your surroundings. Especially in parking garages. This is a mantra I’ve had in my own head since I first learned to drive a car over 35 years ago. It’s advice I passed along to my children, particularly to my daughter, but also to my sons.
And, I recently posted to the fridge in my home as a much-needed reminder to myself. Here’s why.
About a month ago, I was out for a run with my husband and dog. It rained heavily earlier that morning but subsided to a slight drizzle by the time we hit the pavement. I was wearing a baseball cap, pulled extremely low below my brow to block the rain, and was looking down to avoid sloshing in puddles that had accumulated on the sidewalk. My mind was also preoccupied with a work-related problem.
Before I was aware of where I was, I jumped back to avoid being hit by a car. I also pulled the dog back away from the street just in the nick of time.
In my own thoughts and totally unaware of my surroundings, I had entered the intersection at Daniel Island Drive and Purcell Street during the morning school rush time. As I snapped back to reality from deep within my own thoughts – I was surprised I was in the intersection, and for the first time I noticed all the students, lots of cars, and the crossing guard. The volunteer crossing guard immediately and rightfully scolded me. Turning toward my husband, I saw he was looking at me like I was crazy.
Of course, this was a great reminder to me to pay attention and be aware of my surroundings. And, after I got over the insult of being yelled at like a child by the crossing guard, I had to admit he was right to scold me.
It also made me realize that instead of being angry when I’m in my car and someone walks or rides her bike against a traffic signal, I should be more forgiving and thankful that I was aware of my surroundings and didn’t hit her. I need to treat it as an educational moment, just as my distracted run was a teaching moment for me.
Biker, walker and car rider – we all need to be aware of our surroundings because anyone can be distracted in a moment.