By Arlo Taylor
19th Airlift Wing Public Affairs
The summer travel mis-adventures of the fictional Clark Griswold in “National Lampoons Vacation” have achieved legendary status, but safety on the open road is no laughing matter.
The 2014 Critical Days of Summer Campaign that continues through Sept. 2, focuses on risk management for all summer activities. Taking time to plan trips with a safety focus will help Airmen avoid the stark reality of travel woes, according to Rick Myers, 19th Airlift Wing Safety Office ground safety manager.
All the planning in the world won’t work if your car isn’t ready to roll, he said. Safely prepping for summer road trips is as easy as 1, 2, 3:
1. Plan your trip
2. Prepare for the trip
3. Inspect your vehicle
“Prevention and planning is much easier than dealing with the consequences of breaking down,” Myers said. “Plus it is easier to know who to call if you do break down or have an accident when you have a plan.”
“The most ignored step would be that people don’t inspect their vehicles before they head out,” Myers said. “Before leaving for your summer road trip, inspect your vehicle. The important things to inspect are Tires (tread depth and inflation), lights, wiper blades, hoses and belts, battery, fluid levels -- oil, transmission fluid, coolant and windshield washer fluid.”
Travelers should also pack an emergency kit in case of a breakdown. A good start would be a kit of jumper cables, water, flashlight, first-aid kit and non-perishable food like beef jerky or MREs.
Communicating with supervisors is another key aspect of risk assessment for a road trip. The online resource Travel Risk Planning System program, known as TRiPS is available to minimize hazards on longer travels. Log in at https://www. https://cac.trips.safety.army.mil.
“Anyone traveling can and should use the Travel Risk Planning System (TRiPS) program. It is important resource that will help you plan out your trip. It is also good tool for supervisors,” said Myers. “Supervisors can have their Airmen fill out the TRIPS program and it will give them a good risk assessment. This will let the supervisor know what advice to give if it is needed.”
Safety is a mindset and Myers reminds everyone to be ready for the road.
“Practice good risk management,” said Myers. “Get plenty of rest prior to departing; don’t drive long distances at once; take frequent breaks while driving; don’t drink and drive; and most importantly always ensure all occupants properly use seat belts, including the proper child passenger seat for children.”
For the latest summer safety tips, visit www.littlerock.af.mil/news/criticaldaysofsummer .