WASHINGTON (NNS) -- The holidays are a time that brings families and friends together to exchange presents, gather around good food and maybe some football. But whether you are a traveler or a host, be safety-minded during this busy holiday.
One of Naval District Washington's (NDW) primary concerns during holidays is travel safety.
"We recommend that travelers have a loose plan," said acting NDW Safety Regional Program Director Kordeen Kor. "Travelers should make sure they give themselves more time to get to their destination, in case they encounter bad weather or congested traffic they don't feel the pressure of being late for any family or friends gathering."
The Naval Safety Center (NSC) recommends that drivers and passengers plan accordingly to avoid rushing, always wear a seatbelt, and avoid tired driving. Kor also advises that drivers also be mindful of weather conditions throughout their trip.
"Anticipate trouble spots, avoid rush hour times if members are traveling through big cities like Washington, New York or Boston so they don't get stuck in traffic," said Kor. "Some other things that people often don't think about is packing enough water and food for a couple of days in case they get stuck in a winter storm and the roads are close, that way they have food to spend a few days in a hotel while the bad weather passes through."
An additional resource widely used by command leaders is the Travel Risks Planning System (TRiPS), to avoid possible hazards while driving. Sailors can download the automated risk-assessment tool through the NSC website or through Navy Knowledge Online.
"There are a number of things that people can do to make their trips more enjoyable and safer," said Kor. "Probably the first thing that has to be done is clean the vehicle, make sure the floors are free of any kind of trash like bottles or any clutter and the windows are clean so when driving it is easier to see outside the car."
Kor recommended planning ahead of time before starting the trip, sleeping on regular hours and driving during regular times that the traveler is awake.
An additional threat comes from alcohol.
"Some of the things to take into consideration about drinking and driving are the possibility of taking our own life or even someone else's," said Kor. "There's also imprisonment, if you are involved in an accident and kill someone you'll have to live with that the rest of your life.
"There are legal consequences always associated with drinking and driving if you get caught and with that there's the increase on the insurance cost, and loss of driving privileges. For a few drinks, is not worth it," added Kor.
Kor also recommends drivers use the Washington Region Alcohol Safety Program (WRAP) to get where they are going safely. It includes a tool for coming home after going out drinking.
WRAP's 2015 Holiday SoberRide program will be offered from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. until Jan. 1. To receive a free cab ride home, up to a $30 fare, call 1-800-200-8294 (TAXI). AT&T customers may dial #WRAP from their wireless phones. Callers are financially responsible for anything over $30. Callers are reminded that they must be 21 or older to use the service. All requests for SoberRide service must be made by dialing 1-800-200-8294. A SoberRide call operator will direct the request to a participating cab company.
For more holiday safety tips visit www.safetycenter.navy.mil/.
For more news from Naval District Washington, visit www.navy.mil/local/ndw/.