By Lea Johnson
21st Space Wing Public Affairs staff writer
PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. — Being stationed at Peterson Air Force Base provides an opportunity to take part in a variety of different seasonal activities. Winter activities pose a series of risks, as Airmen who come from warmer climates may have never experienced driving on snow and ice.
“Whenever we get the first snowfall we usually get a few (privately owned vehicle) and (government owned vehicle) mishaps,” said Staff Sgt. Trinity Bolman, 21st Space Wing safety officer.
To give Airmen a chance to practice driving on those slick roads without risking a collision, the safety office is setting up monthly Skid Monster training sessions at F.E. Warren AFB, Wyo., Bolman said.
At first glance, the Skid Monster looks like any other truck. After a closer look, the back wheels of the truck stand out. They are much smaller than regular tires and, rather than being set on the axel, are free to rotate 360 degrees. “It simulates being on ice in a safe environment,” Bolman said.
The training starts with classroom instruction on how to control the vehicle, and then it’s out to the field to practice on the course. “There’s a passenger in the truck who controls how much traction is on the back wheels,” Bolman said.
The passenger decreases the amount of traction on the rear wheels and the truck will start to skid as if it were on ice, and the instructor gives instruction on how to regain control of the vehicle.
With the warm summer months just around the corner, learning how to drive safely on ice may not seem like a priority, but Bolman said it’s better to have the training and experience in the Skid Monster before the next winter season. “Especially for young Airmen, 18 to 25, who’ve never driven on snow, it teaches them basic skills if they lose control of a vehicle driving on the snow, how to react and what to do,” Bolman said.
Training takes place monthly. For more information call 556-4392.