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Integrity on the Roads

  • Published
  • By Master Sgt. Dennis Wright
  • 43rd Communications Squadron
As I was driving to work Tuesday morning, an Airman driving a motorcycle literally came within inches of my rear bumper as I was driving 55 miles per hour on a two-lane road. 

As we turned on to Highway 87 (four-lane road), I made a point to get in the right hand lane so he could pass on the left. Not only did he pass me, but he flew by other vehicles, weaving in and out of traffic at an estimated 80 to 90 mph (I wish I were exaggerating)!
A few miles down the road, I noticed the flashing lights of a police cruiser who had pulled someone over. I thought to myself, "I hope it's the guy on the motorcycle." Sure enough, it was him. If the officer saw the same reckless behavior I observed, the driver of the motorcycle received several citations. However, tickets pale in comparison to the lives he endangered, including his own. 

My point is this: how many times have we sat in the base theater being preached to about motorcycle safety. The motorcyclist mentioned above obviously forgot that he's a representative of the U.S. Air Force! Surely he attended the required motorcycle safety class but apparently it was time and resources wasted based on his blatant reckless actions. If I would have slammed on the brakes when his front tire was inches away from my rear bumper, not only would I have lost another Honda Accord to people making extremely poor driving decisions, but Team Pope would most likely be sitting in the base theater listening to our Wing Commander informing us of a severely injured or dead Airman and reminding us, yet again, the consequences of stupid driving decisions. 

If this were the only issue, I probably wouldn't spend my spare time writing this commentary. Unfortunately, I and another sergeant in my unit observed two vehicles turning left near the bowling alley where the cones are clearly posted to prevent left turns during physical training time. There are other intersections on base where similar lapses of judgment occur. The intersection of Armistead and Virgin Streets is a classic example. I can't tell you how many times I've seen people turn right without using their turn signals while a line of cars wait for an opportunity to turn onto Virgin Street. 

These observations beg the questions: Where is the consideration for others? Where is the integrity? Is our integrity visible only when there's a police car nearby? 

I learned a long time ago that the true measure of character is how someone acts when no one is around. If people look around to make sure no one's looking before taking an illegal shortcut, what does it say about their integrity? Our core values state foremost, "Integrity First!!!" Most of us know our core values aren't optional. There are at least three people in the Air Force at Pope displaying a lack of integrity. That's three people too many. 

I want to encourage everyone by saying: Use common sense when you're driving. Be courteous of others on the road. Drive the speed limit (10 mph under the speed limit can be just as dangerous as those driving 10 mph over the limit). Use your turn signal 100 feet prior to making a turn (hitting the turn signal indicator as you're making a turn defeats the purpose). If you're driving slower than the flow of traffic, stay in the right lane unless you're about to make a left turn. 

Finally, avoid pulling into traffic causing oncoming vehicles to abruptly slow down.
All of this boils down to common sense and courtesy for others.