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Safe winter driving demands joint effort

446th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

Published: 02:55PM January 21st, 2016

The people who work and live on Joint Base Lewis-McChord can minimize some of the dangers from inclement weather driving with proper preparation and staying in tune with current weather conditions.

With the freezing weather, people driving on and off base need to adjust their driving to account for the environmental conditions, said Lt. Gen. Stephen R. Lanza, I Corps commanding general.

Once the roads begin to freeze, driving becomes very treacherous, especially in foggy or dark conditions. Motorists need to slow down and obey posted speed limits.

“Defensive driving is important,” said Senior Master Sgt. Kenneth Mazzuca, 446th Security Forces Squadron’s operations superintendent. “Drivers need to adjust their speeds while driving to the current weather conditions and give themselves extra room to stop in bad weather.”

Be careful when driving through shaded areas during freezing temperatures, Mazzuca said. Even if the temperatures rise above freezing, sometimes the ice on the roadway will linger.

“Make sure your vehicle is in good working order,” he said. “Check equipment like your brakes and windshield wipers before heading out. You should also know your own driving abilities and limitations.”

According to Lanza, an additional area of concern is the number of near-miss accidents between motorists and pedestrians on base.

“During this time of year, most physical training is typically done in the dark,” Lanza said. “Combine this with fog and icy roadways and it is nearly impossible to see or react quickly to people in the roadway, even if they are wearing a reflective belt.”

Major Raymond Schierhoff, 446th SFS commander, said drivers aren’t the only people who should exercise caution.

“Pedestrians should also be defensive,” he said. “Don’t assume vehicles can see you before crossing the street.”

Lanza said safety is an individual and team effort, 24-7.

“Safety is both an organizational and individual responsibility,” he said. “Personnel must accept the responsibility not to put themselves in positions where they become vulnerable. Slow down, plan accordingly, and let’s ensure we get to where we are going safely.”