Returning U.S. soldiers have trouble with road rules at home

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.

via Returning U.S. soldiers have trouble with road rules at home.

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.

Via Insty

7 thoughts on “Returning U.S. soldiers have trouble with road rules at home”

  1. I don’t recall a big uptick in accidents after either of my deployments. We saw a spike in DUI’s, but I think that had more to do with an increase in the UI bit than with any problems with the D.

    In my own case it took me about ten minutes to feel comfortable behind the wheel again.

    For those who want actual data (what, my word isn’t good enough):
    http://www.businessweek.com/news/2012-04-24/vets-car-crash-risk-rises-after-deployment-usaa-says

    Army veterans saw the largest increase among branches of the military, with a 23 percent greater incidence of at-fault accidents. Marines were second with a 13 percent higher likelihood, followed by Navy personnel at 3 percent and members of the Air Force at 2 percent. Troops who served more than one tour of duty or had longer deployments also had an increased risk of accidents, the study found. The insurer didn’t account for whether the vets were deployed to a combat zone.

  2. Since hitting Fort Hood, I have been in fear for my life. I am glad to see there is some statistical evidence that explains why. Every drive is an adenture.

  3. This is old BS, no one has been allowed to drive down the middle of the road or “aggressively” for years. There has been a ISAF driving directive against the driving tactics mentioned in the article. maybe back in 2004-7ish, yea, i could see and remember it, but around the end of 07, Iraq stopped with the crazy driving, Afghanistan fllowed within a year or two. just more BS to condem Vets with. Dog and Soldiers should not be allowed in the housee.

  4. I wonder if they did a study of the Zoomie pilot driving on the road between Vegas and Nellis. I heard stories about that for many, many years.

    When I was at Campbell weekend warrior FTX activities, we drove our Tanks to the back country without escort. We had been known to have a spot of fun, now and again, on the roads.

  5. Sorry, but I have to weigh in. I also am in the “San Anto” area and work at Ft. Sam. My commute in to Post is both aggravating and somewhat frightening at times. But it isn’t just uniformed Soldiers. I see many “DV” plates literally ZOOMING by, both to and from work. So I don’t know that it’s any more GI’s than it is just people driving like crap.

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