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Airfield driving tips

ROYAL AIR FORCE LAKENHEATH, England -- As we all know from numerous briefings and computer-based training, safety is the U.S. Air Force's number one priority in every workplace, especially if that workplace is on the airfield.

With constant aircraft activity and the presence of maintainers and pilots, safety must always be in the minds of airfield drivers.

"The main factors that can effect how safe a person drives on the airfield are speeding, lack of knowledge of radio phraseology, poor situational awareness and fatigue," said Tech. Sgt. Devon Adams, 48th Fighter Wing's airfield driving program manager.

According to local instruction, the speed limit is 15 miles per hour on the south side of the airfield and on the north side it is 25 mph. These speed limits are set in order to ensure that a driver has enough reaction time to avoid hazards.

A lack of knowledge of proper radio phraseology can affect a driver's ability to safely drive within the Controlled Movement Area. Personnel driving within the CMA must keep radio contact with the control tower at all times. Miscommunication between drivers and control tower can leads to CMA violations.

Additionally, fatigue can greatly affect the ability of a driver to operate their vehicle safely. Knowing your personal limits can save USAF property and more importantly, it can save your life and the lives of others.

Liberty Airmen can access weekly emails sent to the squadron's Unit Airfield Driving Program manager for current information and trend data. Trend data consists of phenomenon's that occur more regularly than usual. This can be reoccurring violations or mass misunderstandings of the "rules of the airfield road."

"Runway incursions are incredibly dangerous situations that endanger lives around the world hundreds if not thousands of times per year," said Maj. Mack Coker, 48th Operations Support Squadron Airfield Operations commander. "Implementing thorough airfield driving training programs with sound procedures and executed by vigilant drivers is a must on any airfield to avoid needless loss of life."

Understanding the various speed limits of the airfield, having knowledge of proper radio phraseology in the CMA and knowing when you are too fatigued to safely operate a vehicle is imperative in the endeavor to ensure a 100-percent safe airfield to drive on and always remember to drive like your life depends on it. Because it does.