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Year of the Air Force Family
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Responsibility leads to a safer future down the road

Posted 6/16/2010   Updated 6/16/2010 Email story   Print story


by Stu Wyatt
628th Air Base Wing safety office

6/16/2010 - JOINT BASE CHARLESTON, S.C. -- During Year of the Air Force Family, an emphasis has been placed on celebrating, communicating and educating each other, not just within our immediate family, but in our military family as well.

Keeping each other safe, looking out for one another and making smart decisions has been a strong emphasis during this campaign. It all boils down to being more responsible. Responsibility doesn't stop at the door of your workplace or the door of your home; it's just as important when you turn the key in your ignition.

In our daily operations, operating private motor vehicles is simply a fact of life, however for some, it proves disastrous. In 2009 there were 33,963 traffic deaths. While this is a terrible number, it was the lowest death toll on the highways since 1954. This reduction reflects the efforts of countless automotive engineers who build safety devices in automobiles, highway engineers who build safer barriers, police officers who enforce the laws and responsible drivers who follow the rules. Short of building a car that is immobile, without responsible drivers, vehicle fatalities would continue to climb.

Responsible drivers follow the rules and ensure those in their vehicle follow them as well. Responsible drivers wear seatbelts, refrain from the use of alcohol while driving and follow the speed limit. Responsible drivers allow two seconds or more of space between their vehicle and the driver ahead of them and do not drive while tired or mad to avoid accidents. However, not everyone is a responsible driver.

Irresponsible drivers follow too closely to the vehicle ahead of them, text or use a cell phone while driving or drink and drive. They drive aggressively, cut people off in traffic, speed excessively and fail to wear seatbelts. You, as a responsible driver, have to take other drivers actions into account.

As a driver you have limited choices when faced with an irresponsible driver, first and foremost you change your own speed - slow down or even speed up depending on the circumstances. Don't be baited into road rage. Take a breath and think about if it was your own mother in the other car. If you see a drunk driver, try to slow down and stay behind them if following them or, if they are coming your way, slow down and be ready to make an evasive maneuver. As soon as possible you should contact law enforcement.

You can't always avoid an accident, but if you are responsible it will significantly reduce the probability of you being in a mishap.

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