Straight Talk: Columbus Day safety

  • Published
  • By Col. Lester A. Weilacher
  • 66th Air Base Group commander
Columbus Day, the first holiday weekend of the fiscal year, marks a new challenge to keep our people safe. This long weekend is a welcomed and deserved break from very demanding schedules.

This weekend will also be a time several Team Hanscom personnel and community members may be traveling New England roads. Be it shopping, viewing the countryside or checking off a dream trip from a list you have been planning for a while, being alert to your surroundings will require your utmost attention.

As we near the end of the year, hours of daylight get shorter and trips should be planned to minimize travel in darkness.

Drivers, whether riding on two or four wheels, should get plenty of rest prior to travel and plan adequate rest stops during their trips. I ask you to take these precautionary measures to make everyone safe this holiday.

· Buckle up for safety: Laws and regulations require seatbelts and child restraints.

· Plan adequate rest breaks: Do not drink and drive - period. Driver fatigue and driving after drinking are the two most common causes of traffic fatalities during any holiday season.

· Check the mechanical condition of your car: A small measure of prevention could spare you from an unpleasant experience.

· Allow extra time: Be realistic about your travel time expectations and allow extra time for weather conditions and heavy traffic.

· If you walk or ride a bicycle or motorcycle after dark, wear reflective clothing to alert others of your presence and give drivers more time to react. You should ensure you and your bike are fitted with all required safety equipment and that it is in good working order.

Remember, drivers under the age of 18 are banned from using any type of cell phone or electronic device while driving, including hands-free technology. The policy while driving on Hanscom prohibits cell phone use and texting by everyone.

Safety must always be top priority. Every member of Team Hanscom is a precious resource without whom our mission cannot be accomplished. Set the example by looking out for your wingman whether they are friends, family or colleagues.

If you have further questions, call the Hanscom Safety Office at 781-225-5584. They can offer you safe driving tips to share with your organization, family or just yourself.

Finally, I want to wish all of you a safe and meaningful Columbus Day weekend!