It shouldn’t have to take radar signs to get motorists to slow down (“Radar signs installed at Lake Point,” April 25), but some of us are slower to learn than others.
This past March had been a terribly busy month. After helping with a huge community event, I was happy to focus back on my business. One Friday, I was on my way to meet a potential client.
My freshman son was going to get to play on Varsity soccer, and I’d found an Under Armor shirt for him on sale at Big 5 in Tooele. I decided to squeeze time to drive home 10 minutes away, deliver his shirt, then drive back 10 minutes to Tooele to meet with the client.
After getting my son his shirt, I put my foot on that gas pedal. By golly, I was going to make it to my meeting. So bent was I on speeding to my appointment, I didn’t notice the police lights until I was already cruising down the highway.
I pulled over and waited, feeling chills rack my body.
Not a speeding ticket, please. Not another speeding ticket.
I held out my driver’s license as the officer came to my window. Relieved, I greeted her, “Hello.” She looked like she could be a mom like me. I was sure she’d understand.
She told me how fast I was going by the school. “You were haulin’,” she said with a concerned smile. “Are you in a hurry, or something?”
I admitted yes, I was. I began a litany of where I needed to be and when. But my words sounded lame to my ears, because of what she said afterwards, as she started to write me up a citation: “I was worried because kids were out for lunch.”
I began to cry. Not just because I was embarrassed to be pulled over along a highway visible to my neighbors. Not just because of what this new ticket meant in terms of my wallet or my insurance. Not just because, in speeding to my appointment, I was going to be even more late.
I cried because I felt like it was a well-deserved wake up call. If someone had been speeding by my kid’s school, and hit my kid because they were so hell-bent on making an appointment in an over-scheduled day…
The thought shook me up.
When I got home, I confessed to my kids (two of whom are teen drivers): “I got a speeding ticket and I’m not proud of it.” I told them that I was not a good example. That nothing was worth speeding and breaking the law.
Speeding is a hard habit to break. Just nine mph over. That used to be my mantra. I’ve been trying to be good on the road since. I put my truck on cruise control and allow myself extra time to get places. I look around and pay attention.
I want to be like some people who take the day easy. They still work hard, but they’re not running to the next appointment. They’re not trying to glamorize busy-ness. They’re not addicted to this sense that if they stop moving, the world will come crashing down. (Truth is, it won’t.)
If radar signs help, then that’s great. But slowing down for the sake of being safe, now that’s even better.
Jewel Punzalan Allen is a memoir writing coach and a long-time journalist who lives in Grantsville. Visit her website at www.TreasuredStories.net.