Driving in the Eifel Region during the winter season can be a little tricky for someone who just moved here from … let’s say … Florida. No worries, because the Spangdahlem safety office and us here at Public Affairs understand your plight!
To help the safety office spread the word, we’ve coming up with an exciting and informative way to help you stay safe this winter – A Spangdahlem Winter Safety Blog page. On here, you’ll see photos, stories, timelines, safety posters and several articles to help you get through this season. So sit back, relax and let us help you get through the season in one piece.
Oh! And if you have suggestions or would like to submit a first-hand account of your experience getting through the winter, give us a call, we’d love to hear from you.
Where is all the snow?
If you’re new to Spangdahlem, are you wondering where the snow is? If you were here for last year’s snow weirdness, are you wondering the same thing? Regardless of the absence of snow this year, it’s important to realize we are still in the winter season and we need to be careful on the roads as the temperatures, winds and wet road conditions continue to change. We decided to ask the Weather and Safety teams on Spangdahlem for a little insight into what’s going on and for some safe driving reminders during the winter season…even if there is no snow.
Stop– Write this number down NOW!
As the mercury in a thermometer descends lower and lower for cooler weather in Spangdahlem, the emphasis on safe driving increases as do the potential hazards.
While thinking about some of those potential risks, here’s a number for you to consider — 134.
What could that mean? The number of chips in a medium-sized bag? The number of countries you’ve been to? Does it happen to be your lucky number?
These last things may be true, but the intended reference is in respect to the Uniform Code of Military Justice and Article 134. That article refers to general punishment and can also be used for fleeing the scene of an accident.
That’s right– the subject is leaving the scene of an accident, specifically a car accident. No matter how minor the car accident may seem — dinging another person’s car or knocking over a pole — the immediate actions you soon take after the incident could result in larger consequences like an Article 134.
As it turns out, the solution to preventing that number from being applied to you is ANOTHER number: 0656561-6666.
That’s the number to the 52nd Security Forces Squadron’s Law Enforcement Desk.
As soon as you’ve checked you and your passengers to see if you’re OK and deployed the mandatory traffic warning triangles, call Security Forces and give them the best description of your location. Patrolmen will soon arrive to your location and respond to your accident.
Now, the consequences of not calling or delaying your call until hours or days after the accident may result in an Article 134.
For example, if the wreck occurs outside the immediate area of Spangdahlem and you don’t notify Security Forces, it will qualify as a “Failure to Report” and you will lose your license for 30 days.
Or if there isn’t another car and your actions result in property damage and you do not call Security Forces — it will qualify as fleeing the scene and you will lose your license for up to 180 days.
Or if you bump into another person’s car AND leave a note on their car… you STILL need to notify Security Forces.
The bottomline is to NOT delay.
Write down this number. Save it in your phone. Or even memorize it.
But please keep it on you.
No matter how severe the winter roads may be, you’re best prepared by having this number with you.
And remember: “I didn’t know” is not a valid excuse.
From Wisconsinite to you: Put junk in yo’ trunk
As a born and bred Wisconsinite, I know a thing or two about winter driving. While the snow might not be falling right now, I ask, are you ready for when it does?
Since I may not be in a position to prescribe or necessarily persuade any one to take action, I believe my experiences, both good and bad, as a seasoned Wisconsinite driver could benefit anyone driving the winding roads of the Eifel Region.
As it happens, my advice is simple, affordable and built on my experience. Ready?
Ya gotta put junk in yo trunk!
I’ve come up with a list of things I recommend everyone keep handy and also include when to use them. Some of them are pretty basic like a blanket and water, but have you ever considered the potentially life-saving benefits of kitty litter and a shovel? Let’s take a gander….
Shovel- Say your car gets stuck in more snow than it can handle. A nearby shovel and some elbow grease can save you a lot of money and time instead of having to wait for a potential rescue.
Kitty litter- Assume you’re stuck, and, even after you’ve dug your way out with your shovel, your tires aren’t catching any traction. This nitty-gritty stuff is the perfect texture to simulate gravel and can speed your way out of a ditch.
Sand bags- If your vehicle is light in the back, weighing it down with sand bags can help you from sliding off the road. It also can be used to make more traction, but I have had less success with it than with kitty litter.
Thermal blanket- If you need to hunker down in your car for a while, these babies absorb your body heat much more efficiently than a regular cloth blanket.
Hand warmers- These are self-explanatory, but when Jack Frost comes nipping at your nose or toes, it’s nice to have these to shoo him away.
Flash light- You might have a hard time bettering your situation if you can’t see.
Water bottles- They might freeze, but water eventually melts. Getting yourself out of a ditch is not an easy feat, so please stay hydrated.
MREs- These are the military’s “Meals Ready to Eat.” They’re made to supply troops with a full day’s worth of calories and endure harsh conditions in deployed environments. They don’t go bad, and, in the cold, they mean a hot meal. I’d recommend having a few in case of your duration or if you have passengers.
Flares- Assume your phone has no service, you’ve exhausted your resources and you still need a hand. A bright flashing flare can ensure you’re seen at great distances.
So, whether you’re driving in the Badger State or through the Eifel Region, having these tried-and-true tools tucked away in your trunk certainly couldn’t hurt.
And that’s the main reason I’ve written this, because I wish someone shared this advice with me before – whether they were a fellow Cheesehead or not.