Travel safe and sound this holiday season

  • Published
  • By Tech Sgt. Shawanda Peterson
  • 1st Special Operations Wing Ground Safety
-- "Safe-n-Sound, All Year Round" is the theme of this year's holiday and winter safety campaign. The campaign, which started 16 Nov. runs through 2 Jan. The theme's message from Air Force leaders is simple: the holiday season is time to celebrate, relax and enjoy time with family and friends, but it's vitally important that we keep safety in mind and incorporate risk management principles into all our seasonal activities.

The National Safety Council estimates 377 traffic fatalities will occur between Dec. 21 and 25, and another 407 traffic fatalities will befall U.S. motorists between Dec. 28 and Jan. 1. During this period last year the Air Force experienced six fatal mishaps. Fortunately, Hurlburt Field had a successful 2011 holiday season with no fatal mishaps. In fact, the 1st Special Operations Wing's efforts resulted in no reportable vehicle injuries last year over the Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year holiday weekends.

The following precautions can help eliminate traffic mishaps and increase the odds of surviving a vehicle crash:

1. BUCKLE UP!!! Always wear your seat belt and ensure your passengers do too! You are 10 times more likely to survive an automobile crash if you are wearing a seat belt. It's the LAW; you can receive a ticket and monetary fine for failure to wear a seatbelt.

2. REST!!! Driver fatigue is just as risky as driving drunk and both are 100% preventable. Get a good night's rest before hitting the road. NSC recommends avoiding driving between 12 a.m. and 6 a.m., and to stop every 100 miles or two hours of driving to get out of the car and walk around; exercise helps to combat fatigue.

3. FOCUS!!! According to the NSC, approximately every 24 seconds, a crash occurs involving a driver who is texting or using a cell phone. Distracted driving includes ANY activity that takes your focus away from the road; like eating, applying makeup, shaving and changing CDs or radio stations.

4. Don't Drink and Drive!!! According to the National Transportation Safety Board alcohol-impaired driving accounts for approximately one third of all U.S. highway fatalities. Drinking alcohol, using illicit, prescription or over-the-counter drugs while driving impairs and affects one's ability to drive. Read and follow the instructions when taking prescription or over-the-counter medications. If you plan on drinking alcohol have a plan and a designated driver. The NSC estimates that someone is killed in the U.S. in an alcohol related crash every 30 minutes. Airmen Against Drunk Driving is available if your plan falls through they can be reached at 884-8844.

5. Drive Defensively!!! Follow all traffic signs and posted speed limits. Be prepared, recognize hazards and respond accordingly. Drive like your life depends on it.

We all have a responsibility to be good Wingmen and ensure that our teammates have a happy and safe holiday season. Lets make this another zero mishap holiday season for Hurlburt Field by starting 2013 "Safe-n-Sound!"