EYEWITNESS LOCAL NEWSHUMVEE TO SUV
from Eyewitness News Online
Soldiers Have A Hard Time Adjusting To Driving Smaller Vehicles
Reported by: Ashley Smith
Videographer: John Tincher
Web Producer: Ashley Smith
Also Contributing: Troy Morgan
Reported: Jun. 8, 2012 6:40 PM EDT
Updated: Jun. 8, 2012 6:56 PM EDT
Charleston , Kanawha County , West Virginia
From a Humvee to an SUV, When soldiers return from war, it's hard to adapt to driving a smaller vehicle. A recent article in the magazine USAA explains the struggles some soldiers face when they get behind the wheel.
"As I read that article I saw myself," said Coloney Don Lockard, "Every one of those topics they brought up about the characteristics of returning soldiers I experienced for about the first six months."
The article states that soldiers coming off deployment had 13% more at-fault auto accidents in the 6 months after they returned compared to before deployment. It goes on to say that of those surveyed, 30% of soldiers have been told they are dangerous drivers and 20% are anxious in general when driving.
"With any soldier when they first come back they deal with it and we talk about those laws with them," said Family Programs NCO SFC Willard Roberts.
Some of the unsafe driving habits include driving in the middle of the road, swerving to avoid potholes or debris which overseas could be explosives, and driving over the speed limit.
"We just remind them that while that was characteristic of what you did while you were deployed, you need to be cognizant of that and work personally to defeat those bad habits," said Lockard.
"We do have guys who stay in country for two years and they come back and laws have changed with cell phones and different things," said Roberts.
And it's not just cars. Many soldiers buy motorcycles and have a tendency to drive those fast. Colonel Lockard is a rider coach with the West Virginia military motorcycle safety program.
"We basically give them the skill set to operate a motorcycle safely on the street but more importantly to change their mindset so that they're more cautions and more aware of what they're doing when they are on a motorcycle," said Lockard.
Military officials say as with any habit, it's hard to break. Even if that habit was once used to save lives.
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