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Plan ahead, and safely conquer summer!

DOVER AIR FORCE BASE, Del. --

The summer season has officially kicked off … barbecues, beach trips, and permanent gridlock from Annapolis to Dewey Beach. As we tackle our weekends, we are warned of the imminent dangers that summer poses. We’ve read, watched and listened to lectures on how to be safe during these critical days. To be honest, summer safety is no different than being safe throughout the year … It often comes down to preparation.

One of the safest things we can do is to not barbecue or travel to the beach, opting to stay inside and watch reruns of Game of Thrones or Dr. Pimple Popper. Fortunately, this is not our reality, and there are a few simple steps we can take to conquer summer … safely.

First, and most importantly, keep your head on a swivel. Distracted driving is quickly becoming a leading contributor to motor vehicle accidents. You will need all the catlike reflexes in the world to dodge distracted drivers that choose to emoji their way through town.

Second, prepare for simply being outside. For the general population, wear sunscreen … For those of us with fewer resources to combat a flaming ball of gas launching attacks against our skin every second, wear a little more – and reapply regularly! 

Third, for our pool and beach bums, be prepared to intervene on someone else’s behalf. No parent willingly gets distracted from his or her child. Rip tides and inebriated swimming are also prevalent. Call out folks for foolishly entering into known risky behavior, so precious moments aren’t all lost in the tide.  Keep a watchful eye over everyone … See something, take action.

Fourth, do a quick route study and vehicle sweep before you hit the road … You know, the basics. That way, you know where you’re going, and you know why. Confidently call out your navigation when it decides to send you to Ouagadougou instead of the Philly airport, or prevent those unwelcome engine flameouts on the Bay Bridge. 

Fifth, plan your playlist ahead of time … or hire an in-vehicle DJ. Everyone loves a great song, but when your power ballad or Marvelettes hit gets sidelined by a bad power pop single, reaching for your phone while dodging beach traffic is not the time to intervene. Take the time to prepare a few playlists to safely enjoy a hassle-free, jammed-out ride to the Commissary.

Finally, smile, and have fun. Taking a few extra minutes to plan and assess will pay dividends this summer. Once you’ve done that, explore and experience what being stationed at Dover is all about… safely. That should keep you smiling all summer long.

Now, let’s go forth and conquer summer.