Driving to keep base members safe on British roads
By Senior Airman Tabitha M. Lee, 100th Air Refueling Wing/Public Affairs
/ Published November 09, 2010
RAF MILDENHALL. England -- Driving on British roads can be a major challenge for American drivers, but the 100th Air Refueling Wing Safety Office offers a program to help servicemembers gain confidence when they first get behind the wheel.
On average, 10 people are killed daily on British roads and 105 receive a serious disabling injury. RAF Mildenhall newcomers are at an even higher risk, because they are not familiar with British roads or driving customs.
"Traffic safety is one of my greatest concerns," stated Col. Chad Manske, 100th ARW commander, in the AcciDON'T policy letter. "The AcciDON'T Driver's Training Program is a great opportunity for newcomers to better prepare themselves for the local roads."
AcciDON'T is a United Kingdom driver familiarization driving class. It is offered, free of charge, to all military personnel, U.S. civilians and dependants who will be driving during their tour in England.
The instructor, Mike Daniels, does a one-hour, in-class instruction to familiarize drivers with the local road conditions. The students are then taken out in an instructor vehicle for an on-the-road driving experience. During that portion, Mr. Daniels points out important hazards that drivers may encounter. He also suggests preventative measures to avoid accidents.
"It's an invaluable experience to have someone who knows the area," said Elaina Petrovich, an RAF Mildenhall spouse. "The instructor made me feel at ease."
According to Mr. Daniels, It can take three to four weeks for a driver to get used to driving on the opposite side of the road. During that time, the road requires total concentration from the driver. Losing focus for just one second could cause someone to meet problems head on.
The AcciDON'T course is designed to make the transition to driving in the UK an easier and safer experience.
"I think this is a brilliant course," said Mr. Daniels. "It is one of the most important and rewarding courses to teach."
Safety office statistics show that individuals who attend the AcciDON'T class are 50 percent less likely to be involved in a vehicle mishap than those who don't.
"This course helps protect the Air Force's number one asset - It's people," said Tech. Sgt. Benjamin Blount 100th ARW Safety Office ground safety.
This course runs Fridays from 7:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., in building 568. For more information, contact the 100th ARW Safety Office at DSN 238-2255.
Information for this article was provided by the 100th ARW Safety Office.