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Working Mom's Musings: Please, no NASCAR auditions here

Last week the River Falls Journal featured a story about two gentlemen (though I apply that word loosely) using a neighborhood as their own personal demolition derby arena.

While this incident may have been an extreme, they are not the only ones who think they are part of a NASCAR driving team -- channeling Jeff Gordon or Dale Earnhardt Jr. and driving like they are on a racetrack.

With summer upon us, school children out and foot traffic around town picking up, bicyclists, walkers and runners will be sharing roads with motor vehicles. Parks will be full of playing children and people working out.

Most weekday evenings I join a group of highly inspirational women and take to the local parks to get into shape, by doing a "boot camp" workout.

While we are using the roads and parking lots to sweat, lose weight and get fit, some of our fellow park users are using them as drag strips.

While most people drive responsibly in our parks, it takes only one reckless driver to make the park a dangerous place to be.

Children playing and running through our parks should not have to be concerned about speeding vehicles.

Of course, fast and reckless driving does not stop in our parks.

Living on West Maple Street, we get our fair share of tire squealers and stop sign runners.

As evidenced by the letter to the editor from 10-year-old Alex Samargia, my neighborhood is not the only one where drivers are unaware that they could possibly hurt or kill a young child out riding their bike.

Some people fail to understand that they're driving through someone's neighborhood.

I always ponder, when I see these drivers, how they would like to have someone speeding through their neighborhood. My hunch is they would be the first to complain.

So my suggestion to drivers is to realize you are in a two-ton machine that can turn deadly in a split second.

Slow down! Shaving five seconds off your arrival time is not worth the potential car crash you may cause.

Park the cell phones -- believe me, your conversation or text message is not that important -- it can wait.

Lastly, don't drink and drive.

As made obvious by last week's horrifying story, decisions made while driving drunk are often bad ones.

Driving deserves our full attention and ability. Being intoxicated makes that impossible. Nobody wants to make the front page of the Journal for their stupid actions.

NOTE: I don't proclaim to be the best driver ever. I have made mistakes, but I try to be aware of my surroundings because I don't want to be the driver who hurts someone enjoying the beautiful weather.

Use your head, slow down, stop texting or the next front-page story might be about you!

Jillian Dexheimer
Jillian Dexheimer has been a copy editor and reporter for the River Falls Journal since 2011. She previously worked for the River Falls Chamber of Commerce and Tourism Bureau. Dexheimer holds a sociology degree from UW-River Falls.
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