FORT RUCKER, Ala. -- Holiday exodus begins this weekend and Directorate of Public Safety officials urge all Fort Rucker residents, military and civilian, to be cautious while traveling.
Before making a long drive, it's best to plan ahead, said Maj. Jay Massey, DPS deputy provost marshal.

"It's a good idea to know your route and be prepared for possible hazards," he said. "Allow extra time into your travel schedule. People also need to factor in changing weather for the areas they're traveling."

During the winter months, long-distance travel can be hazardous in a variety of ways, Massey added. It's best to know what to do in case one encounters adverse conditions while on the road this holiday season.

"Take vehicles in for service before leaving for the holidays," he said. "This time of year is a good time to check your vehicle's tires, have fluids checked and make sure all your insurance information is up to date."

Having a cell phone or calling cards are also good ideas, Massey said. Having an emergency kit ready is also something travelers should consider.

"I keep a kit in the trunk of my car," Massey said. "It has things like blankets, snacks, water, flashlights and other things my Family and I might need in the event an unforecasted emergency occurs."

Getting plenty of rest before making a long trip is also highly recommended, Massey added.

"It's best to get a good night's sleep before driving a long way," he said. "Don't work all day and then try to drive six to eight hours. That's a recipe for disaster and not smart. It's also smart to take frequent breaks. Get out and stretch every two to three hours, have a cup of coffee or a soda and get a fresh start."

Those traveling by privately owned vehicle should also not be in a hurry when going to their destinations, Kenny Moss, Fort Rucker civilian firefighter said. Many accidents during the holiday season occur because people are trying to make better time while driving.

"People not paying attention like they should cause a lot of accidents," he said. "People need to slow down in adverse weather conditions. There are a lot of fender benders during this time, but there's also an increase in more serious accidents. Being a defensive driver is a great way to possibly prevent accidents. Allow yourself enough time to get where you need to be."

Knowing weather conditions in the area you're planning to travel to is also important, Massey said.

"People should plan according to where they're going," he said. "People who are flying out of town need to know what actions to take if they get stranded at an airport. Keep the chain of command informed because they may have to extend Soldiers' leave if the weather strands them somewhere."

Post residents can also request Family housing checks during the holiday exodus as they would any other time of year, Massey said. Residents should also take steps to prevent "crimes of opportunity."

"There's a simple form that folks residing on post can fill out (at the Fort Rucker Police Station) to request a quarters check," Massey said. "We'll send a patrol out to walk around the house and make sure nothing appears out of the ordinary. We're not going to try and lift windows or check door knobs, but we'll look for things that might be out of place."

People leaving post should also consider getting timers for their lights, parking extra vehicles in their driveway and having neighbors check their mail to make it appear someone is home, Massey added.

Those staying on post may also encounter compliance checkpoints, he said. Police will be checking for valid insurance forms, proof of state vehicle registration and a valid state drivers' license. All are required to operate POVs on post, according to Fort Rucker Regulation 190-5.

Page last updated Fri July 22nd, 2011 at 12:16