by Gina Randall
100th Air Refueling Wing Public Affairs
3/12/2015 - RAF MILDENHALL, England -- Driving
is something most people do as part of everyday life. With less than
favorable conditions such as weather, wildlife, and winding narrow roads
it's no wonder accidents can happen, however good the driver may be.
It's important to know the rules when stationed in a new country and
using the roads there. In the United Kingdom the rules can be found on
the government website.
Rule 148 states: "Safe driving and riding needs concentration. Avoid
distractions when driving or riding such as ... eating and drinking."
People may not think grabbing a drink of water while on a journey to
work would cause a hazard, but this action causes the driver to take
their eyes off the road. It could be during this split second that a
child runs out into their path. The driver's attention to the road could
have saved the life of that victim.
Drivers should give the road their full attention at all times.
Other rules remind people not to drive carelessly.
"Rule 144: You must not drive dangerously or drive without due care and attention."
The 100th Air Refueling Wing Safety office agrees.
"Driving without due care and attention is dangerous because it takes
your eyes off the road and your attention away from safely operating the
vehicle," said Staff Sgt. Jose Martinez, 100th ARW occupational safety
specialist from San Francisco.
The safety office has advice for military members and their families using the roads in a new country.
"While eating or drinking beverages such as soda or coffee is not
illegal, the U.K. Highway Code states 'driving without due care and
attention' is a fineable act," said Martinez.
The U.K. government requests road users to use common sense and take
care of one another. It's not just the distraction of eating behind the
wheel that could cause dangers to other road users, it could also be the
discarded food that people may not want left in their vehicle until the
end of their journey or until they reach a service station with trash
"Rule 147: Be considerate. Be careful of, and considerate toward, all
types of road users, especially those requiring extra care ... you must
not throw anything out of a vehicle; for example, food or food
packaging, cigarette ends, cans, paper or carrier bags. This can
endanger other road users, particularly motorcyclists and cyclists."
The base Safety Office seconds the government's advice to be respectful
to others, and to follow the laws and rules in their local community.
"The law on base is the same as it would be off base," said Martinez.
The safety representative added that for more information, the U.K.
Highway Code or Mildenhall Instruction 31-218 is a great resource. On
base, anyone who is found behaving in an unsafe or erratic manner will
receive three points on their driving record. For off base penalties,
contact the Legal Office or the local police station.