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Travel safely during the holidays

By Lance Cpl. Courtney C. White | | December 18, 2009

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Every year, family members stationed away from home are excited about going to visit their families. They could find themselves in bumper-to-bumper, aggressive holiday traffic. The car rolls onto a nail. The tire pops and, with no spare tire to fix the problem, horns from surrounding cars begin honking impatiently.

Whether shopping for Christmas gifts, traveling over the holiday season or just driving to work, it’s important to take all safety precautions into consideration.

According to Capt. Michael Moore, the safety officer for Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 251, drivers run into numerous difficulties while traveling home for the holidays, whether preventable or unpreventable. Taking all precautions into consideration not only protect the driver but also the other drivers on the road.

 According to www.safetycenter.mil, getting plenty of rest before a long drive, checking the mechanics of the car and bringing back-up materials such as a spare tire, jumper cables and a tool kit are some resources drivers should consider.

Even those who begin a trip fully rested can still suffer from fatigue on the road if they try to cram in too many hours of driving or do not make enough pitstops along the way.

The Naval Safety Center recommends drivers to take short breaks every two hours to stretch their legs and get a break from the long highway. Even if an individual thinks they know how to beat fatigue on the highway by drinking coffee or listening to the radio, nothing can take the place of sleep.

The auto hobby shops on the Air Station and Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island offer service to military members and their families at low prices. If an individual doesn’t know what to check before a long distance drive, then the hobby shops are there for them to use.

Holiday travel is a time when Marines should be especially careful, not just for themselves but also for surrounding drivers that drive incorrectly, according to Moore. Whether traveling long distances or in the same state Operational Risk Management is a key part of staying safe.

“Marines submit their travel plans to their noncommissioned officers or mentors as the first step to traveling safely over the holidays,” said Moore.“Ensuring proper planning such as; vehicle inspections, checking the outlook on weather and road conditions are vital parts to keeping the Marines safe.”

While traveling over the holidays make sure to have a plan, let someone know what it is, have appropriate personal protective equipment and avoid all risks when possible.
Remember to plan ahead, know the route that is being traveled and be safe traveling during the holiday season.

For more information and safety tips visit www.travel.safety.gov or the Naval Safety Center’s Web site at www.safetycenter.mil.


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