The Park Record editorial, June 16-19, 2012 |

The Park Record editorial, June 16-19, 2012

Backseat drivers needed in Summit County this weekend

Motorists will need both hands on the wheel and as many extra eyes as possible this weekend. In addition to a gauntlet of road-construction projects, they will be sharing the road with one of the biggest running races of the year the Ragnar Relay.

The relay, which is expected to draw more than 10,000 runners, will enter Summit County late Friday night via East Canyon and Henefer, will continue through Echo and Coalville on the Rail Trail and will then move to the shoulder of State Road 32 past Peoa, Oakley and Francis before heading into Wasatch County. The route includes a long section of two-lane highway with minimal shoulders and will require drivers to be hyper vigilant.

If you are a perennial backseat driver, your skills will be welcome this weekend. Go ahead and point out obstacles and/or pedestrian crossings that your driver may not have seen. And, by all means, feel free to chastise him or her for trying to use a cell phone. If you are a teenager who has been scolded for texting while driving, this is a perfect time to tell mom and dad to practice what they preach.

Mountain-town citizens may be skilled winter drivers, but summer presents a whole different set of challenges. Don’t let your guard down. In addition to the Ragnar runners, Summit County highways in the summer typically attract thousands of cyclists. All will be expected to maintain their composure even when following exhaust-belching construction trucks and unwieldy RVs.

One of the few downsides of Summit County’s growing popularity is traffic both motorized and human-powered and this weekend promises be a significant test of how all of us manage to cope with it.

Our advice? Leave extra time to get to your destination, load up the iPod with new music, appoint an official lookout to help watch for runners and bikers, and try waving and cheering them on instead of scowling. Above all: Resist the urge to use a cell phone while driving.

It’s summertime and the livin’ should be easy. Let’s not mar the season with a tragedy.

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