ACT-ing out can be a key to safety

  • Published
  • By Mike Jett
  • 82nd Training Wing Public Affairs
Remember when acting out in school would get that stern look from the teacher or a trip to the principal's office? I certainly do. I made plenty of long walks down the hall. However, the good news is that ACTing out may get you out of some sticky situations.

Consider this scenario: You are driving on a four-lane divided highway. There is an unimproved shoulder to your right and traffic is fairly heavy with vehicles in both lanes traveling 70 mph or faster. There is a truck about a quarter mile in front of you with a load of bricks. The truck hits a bump and almost a whole pallet of bricks fall off the truck into your lane. What do you do?

Every one has received training on and is familiar with Operational Risk Management. ORM is a great tool and using ORM can mitigate unnecessary risks that most often cause mishaps. A simpler method of risk assessment can be used on the fly for many situations.

In simplifying your risk assessment you can: Assess the situation, Consider your options, and Take appropriate action. Let's take a look at the above scenario and see how the ACT process can help avoid a mishap.

Assess the situation:
You are quickly approaching a load of bricks lying in your lane of traffic. There are cars in the left lane in front of and behind your vehicle. To your right is unimproved ground with tall grass that may have hidden hazards.

Consider your options:
Can you safely move into the left lane without striking or being struck by another vehicle? Can you slow down and stop fast enough to avoid running over the bricks without being struck by the vehicle behind you? Can you pull to the right without losing control of your vehicle or striking an object?

Take appropriate action:
A quick look in your mirrors show there are two cars quickly approaching on your left. The rear view mirror reveals a vehicle, but it is pretty far behind you. And you're just not sure what is in the grassy area that you may run into or cause you to lose control.

It only takes seconds, but you make your decision - slow down, the car is far enough behind that it should also begin slowing down, and come to a controlled stop before you hit the bricks.

Oh, and surely you will pull over and help remove the bricks from the road so no one else has to make that decision.

Hopefully you can see the importance of assessing risk in all you do. Whether it is driving to work, planning a trip, or mowing the yard, a risk assessment can help you complete the task safely. ACTing out can almost guarantee a successful outcome.