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Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany

Readiness Enabler for Operational Forces  •
Travel safety crucial to America's 9-1-1 Force

By Sgt. Phuong Chau | | January 16, 2003

When base personnel jump into their automobiles or board planes or other forms of transportation during this Martin Luther King holiday, they are often preoccupied with thoughts of spending time with friends and family. Spending the holidays with loved ones is significant, but travelers will also want to focus on the tasks at hand during a trip.

Travelers can take precautionary measures to help ensure they return home safe from festivities over the long weekend. For instance, planning ahead can prevent travelers from experiencing difficulties and save precious time.

Having vehicles inspected for problems such as bald tires, low oil and to ensure other critical functions are in good operating order is just good sense. Having a mechanical breakdown is the last thing anyone wants, especially during the holidays.

If travelers plan to hit America's highways, they should also make sure they map out an updated route based on current road conditions available through state highway patrol agencies. It's also import to ensure that someone is aware of travel plans in case something unplanned happens.

Carrying necessary supplies on any road trip is also important. Items such as blankets, flashlights, flares, a compass, a shovel and snacks such as nuts and dried fruit could be lifesavers during a trip. Bringing salt or cat litter will help give a car's tires traction in snow or ice if problems of that nature arise.

Rest is as important to travel safety as carrying a first-aid kit. Too often people are in a rush getting on the road without the proper rest. Getting off work at noon for liberty does not necessarily mean travelers should begin a 12-hour drive at 1 p.m. Even with the desire to see friends and family looming in their minds, travelers should be patient and get a good night's sleep before leaving home.

Drivers will also want to make sure they stay focused while on the road. With traffic-congested highways, the chances of delay are increased. Travelers need to remain calm and remember they will eventually arrive at their destination so long as they keep a cool head. Playing music or motivating cadences on the stereo or listening to the radio may help, and everyone needs to remember the basic safety precautions such as avoiding drinking and driving. Keeping calm and staying smart will also help travelers who plan to fly.

A large number of travelers fly during long weekends. Ever mindful of the 9-11 attacks, it is important for every traveler to remain vigilant during this time. Being aware of your surroundings and the activities of the people around you will help ensure repeat attacks do not occur.

Because of the additional security in place at the nation's airports, air travelers will want to call the airlines a day early to confirm their flight times. Also, arriving at the airport at least two hours early will give travelers enough time to go through the extra security checkpoints.

Having tickets and identification easily accessible will reduce the wait too, as will making sure you do not carry items that could be considered weapons, such as tweezers, nail clippers, knives or other sharp objects. Considering this factors in advance will help make air travel safe and less stressful.

Wherever your destination, everyone is asked to arrive safely and return home the same way.