Need some help/advice!

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  • I was just nearly back from my walk with my son (took him in the stroller), when a car pulled over towards me. I was practically on my own property. This testosterone-amped 50 year old man rolled down the window and said, very condescendingly, "Sweetheart, I drive this road 5 times a need to wear something so that I can see you."

    This really got me riled up, even though I was in a relaxed state of mind. I didn't say anything, just waved him off.

    I'm just wondering - am I over-reacting? What would you do?

    I have personal issues with the nanny state. But how can you miss someone pushing a stroller??

    Obviously his tone was meant to intimidate and punish me, and my inner rebel wanted to kick his royal freaking *ss, but I didn't let him get the better of me. Yet, I'm still stewing about it. I feel a little violated and threatened because - why would a man bother to do this? He was able to see me fine?

    I don't get it.
  • I wouldn't worry about it....seems to say more about his actions than yours....if there was no sidewalk or some less safe areas of the road, by all means take precautions so that people can see you and your child....if he bothers you again, i'd probably say something like "well if you drive this road so often, i'm sure you know to watch for pedestrians like me" or something like that...or perhaps he needs to have his eyesight checked...but really don't let it bother you
  • Baseball bat. Door.

    Why were you not carrying a baseball bat?
  • I guess it wouldn't bother me if I lived in an area with lots of houses, but I'm isolated where I live. A woman alone on the road...just scared. Not sure how to deal with that other than stop walking on this road or just hope nothing happens. I guess anything can happen anywhere. I just feel like a target where I live. (I do not mean a target for drivers)
  • Ian, lol....good idea!!
  • If his eyes are that bad maybe he shouldn't be driving. Was it dusky or dark out? If so I can say with some authority that older eyes aren't as sharp as they once were in those conditions. If it was broad daylight he might not have been paying attention like he should, driving too fast, he didn't expect to see a walker and you "scared" him, seeing you late in the game. Some people can't take blame for their own actions (inattention, expectations, driving habits) so he decided to rid himself of his discomfort by schooling you.

    Nothing to be done that you didn't already do. I don't think you have to worry about him stalking you or anything like that. Get a bright walking jacket or vest and that should help both of you. It will at least be fair warning to less attentive drivers. Don't let the inner rebel keep you from caring for your own safety. If you do, he will not have "won" anything you will have.

    FWIW I get your annoyance.
  • I think he was probably angry with himself that he didn't see you soon enough, and is reminding you that, for your and your son's own safety, perhaps you could do something to be better seen.

    I find this happens a lot -- people on the road think they are visible, but to a moving vehicle they are not.

    The last thing you want is to get hit, especially with your child, right? I think he was trying to be helpful.

    ETA: To answer your original question -- yes, I think you are over-reacting. And I don't think you should assume his tone was meant to intimidate you. He was probably pissed at himself, or over the general situation, and it came out in his voice. At least, with the information given, that's how I would interpret it. Maybe you could put something bright on the stroller to make it more visible?
  • I think he probably was trying to be helpful, even if his execution was poor. And I agree that it's often more difficult to see pedestrians from a moving car than most people would assume.

    I never realized how important it is to "stand out" until I moved to Northcentral Wisconsin, an area where people spend a lot more time outdoors, hunting, fishing, biking, walking, running, cross-country skiing.....

    You've never seen so much blaze orange in you're life ( I had never even heard of blaze-orange until I came to Wisconsin) . There's even a common joke that you're not a "real" Wisconsonite if you don't own at least one piece of bright orange clothing.

    Even so, every year several people are accidentally injured and killed in car/pedestrian and hunting accidents because they weren't seen by the driver or shooter.

    This driver may not have delivered the advice well, but it still is good advice.
  • I think newleaf and kaplods are probably right. Pedestrians aren't always as visible to motorists as they think they are. Plus, motorists may not even think to look for pedestrians (and cyclists, etc.) on roads without sidewalks and/or that run through rural or suburban areas. The guy's phrasing may have been off-putting, but he was probably trying to be helpful. Set a good safety example for your little guy by wearing hi-vis gear when you take him out walking. If you're concerned about people attacking you, arrange to check in with someone after coming back from your walks (so they can contact police if you go missing) and carry a cell phone with good reception, along whatever defensive weapons/deterrents (stick/bat, pepper spray, knife, gun, etc.) you can legally carry and would actually be willing and able to use in case of an attempted assault or kidnapping.
  • You may want to consider carrying a stun gun/zap stick with you on your walks. They're relatively cheap (eBay) and just having it with you could give you that added peace of mind. I own one. It fits in my pocket easily. You could also carry a small can of mace on your walks. Either one.
  • He doesn't sound like the nicest guy on the block but at least he's wise enough to say something. From the sound of it it sounds like he was exasperated, it sounds as if he's seen you before and had a few close calls with you. He was probably thinking "man, this lady is always wearing dark clothing and is impossible to see, what is she thinking???" I would heed the advice! At the very least get a bright colored jacket, something that reflects light. Even with light shining on you in the day time it sure is hard to see someone wearing dark clothing.

    As a driver I can't tell you how scared I am of people crossing the road in dark clothing. I swear to you, I cannot see them for the life of me and they are putting their life at risk and I WILL be the one who suffers the consequences of that long term should anything happen.

    I do understand your response though. A woman on the road with a baby should not have to feel threatened and perhaps he could have said "excuse me, I don't mean to startle you but I've noticed you walk in the area in dark clothing and I'm suggesting that you wear brighter clothing - it's very dark out here and I often don't see you until I'm too close."
  • Thanks everyone. I appreciate all of your input! I know this seemed like over thinking, but in an effort to keep my compulsive eating at bay, I felt it was necessary to be aware of the moment and what I was feeling, so that I could learn a lesson and not be stuck in similar moments down the road.

    I thought about it and decided that I feel very safe/not threatened by cars during my walks and am very conscious about when a car is coming (I can hear them long before they can see me, so I know to get out of the way, even when they are speeding). I feel that changing anything about my appearance is overkill and just feeding into the fear/paranoia. I'm 38 years old, know what to wear or not wear, and am very conscious of what drivers can see or not see, as I'm the first one to point out to my family how twilight can blind drivers and that it's never prudent to walk in the dark. I'm not comfortable walking at those times, so I try not to. During the walk yesterday, it was broad daylight, this man started slowing down about 1/8th mile away from me, and had sufficient time to pull over and roll down his window. He clearly saw me yesterday, so I concluded that he was referencing some other time.

    I'm sure that this man was startled at some point by someone (since no one on this road wears reflective clothing, including many of the male joggers) and was just taking the opportunity to address me since he can't address anyone else. Would he have pulled over and said the same thing to a man? I am doubtful that he would think a man "needs" the advice, and also doubtful that a man would be as kind as I was, especially if he were called "sweetheart." I understand his message and can look past the tone. His message being that it would be prudent to wear light clothing was heard. Like I said, would a man not know this? Why would a woman (particularly a mother) not know this?

    However, his fear is his, not mine. In fact, I'm more fearful of strange men pulling over and taking advantage of me than of getting hit on a road I've walked down thousands of times for many, many years in just the same kind of clothing I've always worn.

    I feel comfortable in my decision and happy to know why I was worried about this in the first place. The fact that someone felt they could control my actions, and my automatic response to feeling like I "have" to do as they say or else suffer the consequences one way or another. There are consequences to not changing my behavior, but what are they: get hit by a car or suffer his anger? It was the latter that worried me.
  • Yes. Yes you're over-reacting. I am amazed how many pedestrians think they can be seen just because they are there, and don't wear reflective gear or anything else. If you are wearing anything matte or medium to dark in the evening, especially as winter nears, you are hard to see. With a stroller you may have slightly more visibility if it is affixed with reflective tape, but always err on the side of caution.

    Why you'd assume this is a testosterone thing instead of a safety issue is beyond my comprehension. I'd never jump to that conclusion unless there was blatantly sexual actions or words involved. I'd be tempted to say something to a poorly signaled pedestrian with an infant, too - how horrifying to not be able to clearly see a pair like that! It's no nanny state to inform a stranger that if you had some difficulty seeing them, someone else might as well.

    As far as I can tell, he was trying to be kind and helpful - you reaction to that is more shocking than anything you indicated he said by assuming the very worst of his motives and words.
  • And why would you assume he wouldn't say that to a man? Could it be that he thought the danger was higher when there was more at stake - a woman and child - than a man? Most likely. And why is that a problem? What is wrong with a man wanting to protect women and children over another grown man? I certainly hope my husband and son would give more deference and care to those weaker/more vulnerable than them, and to women and children as a general rule. That's just chivalry and good manners!
  • I think the OP was put off by the man's demeanor. Calling me "sweetheart" puts me on edge too. But if a driver tells me he can't see me, I'd take him seriously.