Life can be tough for U.S. soldiers returning from Iraq and Afghanistan. Post traumatic stress disorder must make everyday tasks hell to deal with.
Not the least of which is re-adjusting to American road rules. In Iraq, the goal of the morning commute is to reach the destination alive. The more speed the better, and anything not moving out of the way quickly enough gets plowed into the pavement.
Many returning military personnel find it difficult to forget the lessons they’ve learned on hostile foreign roads. Over there, smart drivers follow the center line to avoid IEDs on the shoulders. Turn signals only give the enemy advance notice of your next move, and stopping at intersections makes you an easy target. When back in the states, those tactics are still effective for negotiating traffic, but aren’t appreciated so much by fellow drivers.
Fair enough, the stupid PTSD crack aside. Driving is learned behavior, and it takes a while to change habits.
But this study overlooks one of the real causes for increased traffic accidents. Most people on deployment just don’t drive very much. I’d be interested in seeing Navy post-deployment accident rates. If you spend 6 to 9 months at sea not driving anything, it takes a little time getting “back in the saddle” as it were.
And I recall I was hypervigilant about my driving when I got back from Desert Storm. I had to cope not only with not being in practice driving, but my driving was done in Germany, with different traffic rules than what I grew up with.