Driving to safety

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Rebecca Imwalle
  • 28th Bomb Wing Public Affairs
With summer officially here, many Airmen and their families may choose to travel across the country to see family and friends, or simply explore the Black Hills.

No matter how far the destination, safety should not be overlooked while preparing for and participating in such trips - especially when driving. Michael Walter, 28th Bomb Wing safety and occupational health deputy, outlined several safety tips and the importance of preparation prior to traveling.

"You shouldn't drive more than eight hours a day while on road trips," Walter said. "Ensure frequent stops are taken within those driving hours. If you start nodding off or become fatigued, pull over and take a rest stop."

To minimize the risk of accidents, ensure your car is road worthy, have a detailed travel plan and stop to rest as needed to avoid fatigue. Early preparation ensures Airmen do not overlook certain safety items, to include having properly inflated tires, checking the condition of the spare, making sure an oil change is not needed, and bringing emergency gear for potential mishaps.

"Airmen should speak with their supervisor prior to taking leave or traveling during extended weekends," Walter said. "They will be able to speak with you about your driving plans in addition to safety information."

Master Sgt. Jason Justice, 28th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron superintendent, advises his Airmen to ensure they have a safe and effective plan prior to leaving.

"The purpose of talking to my Airmen is to ensure they have planned ahead," Justice said. "It's important to make sure they have considered all safety factors before they leave. Our Airmen are a huge asset to the mission, and we want to know they will make it back safe[ly]."

Justice urges Airmen to have a plan - and a backup plan - and to make sure there is someone back at base they can contact if something goes wrong.

"I want to know you've thought about everything that could possibly go wrong," he said in regards to preparing his Airmen for safe travel. "You need to be ready for it. Ensure you have all the supplies you need to make it safely back home."

During long weekends, Airmen are strongly encouraged to heed caution when traveling to areas outside of the local area and ensure they have ample time to return to work if needed.

"These rules are in place to keep you from overextending yourself and to ensure accountability," Walter explained. "It's not uncommon to come back from a long weekend and have many mishaps in the office, [but] we want to avoid as many as possible."

As a reminder, leave starts and ends in the local area. Airmen expecting to travel beyond this area should take leave to avoid unnecessary hardship, in addition to keeping supervisors aware of travel plans.

For more information, call the 28th BW Safety Office at (605) 385-2599 or visit the Travel Risk Planning System at https://cac.trips.safety.army.mil/.