Armor: Combat Driving Kills

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January 24, 2008: The U.S. Army and Marine Corps have set up "combat driving" schools to show troops how to handle hummers and armored vehicles under combat conditions. In the past, military drivers were taught to proceed slowly, and in a disciplined manner, when under fire. The reality of Iraq, and now Afghanistan, quickly saw a new form of driving develop. Now speed and agility was paramount, in order to avoid ambush or roadside bombs. This has led to an increase in vehicle accidents, and the combat driving courses are the response to that. While the younger troops don't mind hot rodding through a combat zone, the increased speed and freedom of maneuver led to many more accidents. In Afghanistan, vehicle accidents accounted for about a third of all U.S. troops deaths. In Iraq, vehicle accidents are the major cause of non-combat deaths.

The army has also created computer driving simulators for training troops. These sims depict the handling characteristics of armored hummers (which handle quite differently than unarmored vehicles, because of the extent and placement of the additional weight.)

The combat driving skills acquired in Iraq, also translated into a higher accident rate when the troops came home. This was addressed with many reminders that it was unsafe to drive your personal SUV or motorcycle the same way you drove a hummer in Iraq.

 


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