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With the summer tourist season upon us, I feel the need  to abuse my editorial right once again and make a personal plea to drivers everywhere to get the hell out of my way. Last year, about this time, I was driving my truck to Tooele to get the Zephyr printed and made the mistake of going to Salt Lake the “usual way,” via US 6 & 50 over Soldier Summit to Spanish Fork. It’s a nightmare highway, always congested, and I should have known better.

I’d just left Price and was behind a car who was dawdling along at about 35 MPH. I patiently endured him, knowing that in just a half mile or so, I’d have a passing lane and the opportunity to go around. But as soon as the passing lane appeared, he sped up. I tried to get around him, but it was uphill, my old truck doesn’t have the oomph it used to (neither do I for that matter) and this ‘dawdler’ was now going 70MPH. I gave up, but as soon as the road started to narrow again, he started slowing down again…right back down to 35.

I was already in a bad mood and I said to myself, “Screw this.” Even though I had a double-yellow line, I could see clearly ahead for half a mile and knew I could easily pass him, especially at the speed he was moving. So I did it.

Unfortunately, there was a Utah Highway Patrol trooper directly behind me who, in my zeal to pass the Dawdler, I had failed to notice. He pulled me over, gave me a lecture, and wanted to know if I thought I was “special” in some way that gave me the right to break the law.

Normally, I grovel at the threat of a ticket. But this time I was unrepentant. “I broke the law but I’d do it again,” I growled. “It’s drivers like that guy who should be pulled over. He’s the menace, not me. He was rude, not me. But to hell with it…Do your duty.”

The trooper had initially accused me of reckless driving, speeding and illegal lane change. When he handed me the citation, he said, “I’m only writing you for the lane change. You shouldn’t have done that, but I understand your frustration.”

An empathetic cop. I was almost grateful.

So…to all you dawdling drivers, listen up. If you want to dawdle, that’s fine. As long as you don’t impede the normal flow of traffic, as long as you are courteous enough to pull over and let faster traffic pass, I salute you. But if you don’t pull over and plan to lumber along while traffic backs up behind you, FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, at least when you get to a passing lane, DON’T SPEED UP. Let us go around.  I IMPLORE YOU. That’s all we ask. Is that so much? I know you can see us, all stacked up and seething in your rear view mirror. You can’t be driving with your head up your ass–otherwise how could you dawdle along staring at the scenery? So acknowledge us, move over, and let the rest of the world go by you.

Meanwhile, I stay off the Soldier Summit road these days. It takes me an extra hour to make Tooele, but I have the road to myself. And does anything feel better than an open road?

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