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An accident waiting to happen

Bethany Ledyard | Sunday, January 27, 2013

Thursday morning sported one of the most beautiful South Bend sunrises I have ever seen, and there were two members of our community who almost did not live to see it.
This morning, I watched as two runners traveling toward Saint Mary’s College on Douglas Road swerved off their path to avoid an oncoming car. In the pitch-black and fog of a 7:15 a.m. commute, there is so little visibility on that road it is frightening.  This morning, as usual, I was leaning over the steering wheel straining to find the perimeters of my lane, grateful for the car in front of me. When I saw the car in front of me had caused runners to swerve from their path, I was terrified because there is nothing I or the driver in front of me could have done if they did not move of their own volition. You cannot see runners on Douglas Road. Even if you do, there is no guarantee you can avoid them if the weather is bad.
Whose fault is it that two people almost died? The driver in front of me? The runners? The snowplow driver who overslept yet again? I know who I blame, but suffice it to say this: It is imbecilic for runners and vehicles to share Douglas Road on any morning, period. South Bend has inclement weather – often. We all know this, so we need to act accordingly. To say Douglas Road, in particular, is poorly cleared is a euphemism. Perhaps runners think they are safe on the side of the road, but when it is snowy, there is no “side of the road.” When it is foggy, there is no side of the road. When the sun sends a laser beam through your windshield at daybreak, there is no side of the road. There is no middle line, either, just the distance you as a driver must keep from the oncoming car, making the side of the road even less of your focus and concern.
I have had a scare like this on the same road once before, and two times is plenty for me to beg you as my classmates to stay away from Douglas Road for your morning exercise. We have lost too many brothers and sisters to total accidents to take this lightly. Please, please spread the word to anyone you know who enjoys morning runs to change their route to somewhere safe. May I recommend either of our stunning campuses?