Rude on the road? Driving like a madman? Don’t be offensive, drive for safety

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Johnny Smith
  • 31st Fighter Wing ground safety
More than likely, some time during your tour in Europe, you will be involved in an accident or talk to someone who has. You may even witness one first hand. 

As a driver with more than 25 years of experience, I have seen a lot, both in my previous career field as a security policeman and as a safety technician. I've learned a lot from the accidents I responded to and I have shared those experiences with others so they can avoid an unnecessary accident. 

One lesson I learned has to deal with time management and the offensive driver. I have always given myself plenty of time to get where I am going. I was taught a long time ago, 'If you're early, you're on time; if you're on time, you're late.' That adage still holds true today. The person who originally said it probably didn't have to worry about the amount of traffic and the hustle and bustle of the fast pace world we live in now, but he did have the right idea about proper time management. 

The Driving Institute of America has a rule that encourages good time management. That rule, called the "1520 Rule," encourages leaving in sufficient time to reach a destination 15 to 20 minutes prior to the actual arrival time. For example, if you are scheduled to be at work at 7:30 a.m. and it takes about 20 minutes to drive from your home, you should leave at 6:45 a.m. By leaving at 7:15 a.m., you immediately become an "offensive driver" in a hurry to get to work on time. 

Leaving late can create many dangerous habits such as backing out of the driveway in a hurry, excessive speed in residential areas, tailgating, changing lanes without signaling, running red lights, and hastily pulling out at intersections. An offensive driver becomes irritable with other drivers who are driving safely and at proper speeds. They drive discourteously, negligently, hastily, take risks, and become complacent. Does this describe you? If so, your possibilities of someday becoming an accident statistic are very high. 

Aviano has experienced way too many fatalities on our highways with speed and inattentive driving being the leading causes. We can stop these accidents if we do a few simple things:
· Slow down. Piano!
· Remain focused on the task of driving.
· Know and follow the traffic signs.
· Maintain sufficient distance between you and the vehicle in front of you.
· Buckle up and don't drink and drive. 

Avoid becoming an offensive driver and leave early to arrive on time. Live by the "1520 Rule" and become a disciplined driver who isn't complacent or in a rush, but a driver who's in control.