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News | Dec. 29, 2017

Safe driving begins before getting behind the wheel

By 633rd Air Base Wing Safety Office 633rd Air Base Wing

Throughout the winter season, weather and road conditions can change without warning. Motorists should plan their trips ahead of time, to minimize the hazards associated with driving.


While arranging for holiday travels, many drivers often delay vehicle preparations for winter until the last minute.


“Most travelers tend to believe that safe driving starts after your trip begins,” said Mark White, 633rd Air Base Wing Safety Office occupational safety manager. “Drivers generally put emphasis on obeying speed limits and wearing seat belts, while those are important precautions, safe driving starts well before you get behind the wheel.”


Members should check their brakes, wiring, belts, spark plugs, battery, spare tire and antifreeze level, as well as having an emergency kit with a flashlight, jumper cables and road flares ready prior to departure.


According to White, to help to regain traction in the event that a vehicle is stuck, carry a bag of salt or kitty litter. It is also important to have non-perishable foods, blankets and winter clothing.


A few days prior to a trip, individuals should check the latest forecast and radar.


“Even if the morning’s forecast is for clear skies, weather can change rapidly along your route, be sure to check the latest forecast and radar before heading out the door,” said White. “If the forecast seems questionable, delay your travels when possible.”


Another helpful tip if traveling long distances is to have someone accompany you on the trip. This allows each person the opportunity to share driving responsibilities. If members decide to travel alone, inform a fellow service or family member of your route of travel, expected arrival times and contact information. 

According to White, one of the most important steps to take prior to starting a trip is to always get enough sleep. While many depend solely on caffeinated drinks to keep them awake, research has found that the only cure for fatigue is rest and sleep.


For more information on winter driving safety, contact the 633rd ABW Safety Office at 225-7390.


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