‘Tis the season for safe driving
By Auburn Davis, 45th Space Wing Public Affairs
/ Published November 22, 2011
PATRICK AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. -- The air is turning colder and the leaves have changed, which means the holidays are right around the corner.
Planning time with family and friends is on everyone's mind this time of year and sometimes the excitement of seeing loved ones can cause us to forget the importance of safety, especially when traveling.
Some do not think that driving during the holidays is different than any other time of the year.
The American Automobile Association predicts that more people will travel this holiday season compared to last year, and that most will drive to their destination, rather than fly or use other means of travel because of the recession.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has predicted Thanksgiving Day to be the deadliest driving holiday and New Years Eve follows right behind it.
"Safe driving is vitally important," said Chief Master Sgt. Calvin Williams, command chief for the 45th Space Wing, "especially during the holiday season."
Many do not believe that there is an increase of drunk drivers during the holidays.
Drunk driving is a big reason why driving during the holidays is so dangerous.
According to Mothers Against Drunk Driving, deaths from drinking and driving spike around the holidays, with alcohol blamed for 52 percent of all fatal collisions on Christmas and 57 percent on New Years. This is compared to 41 percent of fatal accidents caused by driving while intoxicated the rest of the year.
Many argue that there is no need to inspect their vehicle before travel.
But in reality, checking your tires, getting your oil changed and having a full inspection can minimize your chance of getting into an accident.
"Preventive automobile maintenance is a key element of a driver's safety," said Chief Williams, "maintenance ensures that vehicles are in good running condition and it can prevent people from being stranded alongside the road during holiday travels."
Service members and their families should follow the scheduled maintenance recommendations in their owner's manual; they should also check fluid levels regularly and change the filters to minimize the risks of breakdowns.
"Mission readiness and effectiveness of all military units depends on personnel and their families returning home safely from a period of leave," said Chief Williams.
Every member of the Department of Defense team is important, and it is extremely important when personnel and their families travel for the holidays that we get each and every member back safely, he said.
So when you are traveling this holiday season, be aware, be prepared and most of all drive safely.