'The Fog:' Simple tips to survive Eifel driving, leadership positions
By Lt. Col. Steve "Gator" Mounts, 52nd Medical Support Squadron commander
/ Published March 09, 2011
SPANGDAHLEM AIR BASE, Germany --
"A Northern California fishing town, built 100 years ago over an old leper colony, is the target for revenge by a killer fog containing zombie-like ghosts seeking revenge for their deaths."
Such was the trailer for the horror movie titled "The Fog." A 1980 John Carpenter film, "The Fog" would roll in and the killings would begin. No matter what anyone did, they couldn't stop "The Fog" and the devastating impact it was having on the town.
As members of the Eifel region, we're all familiar with the fog, especially this time of year. Although our fog isn't filled with "killer ghosts," it certainly can be dangerous. What are some of the ways we deal with our fog? Well, here are a few driving tips to help you stay safe and get to where you need to go.
First, slow down. The fog makes it much more difficult to see. Simply slowing down gives you enough time to identify changes in the road, read important signs and then react to them. Slowing down ensures you won't "out-run your headlights" or drive so fast you lose touch with your environment.
Secondly, illuminate as much of the path in front of you as possible. To do this, use your fog lights ... makes sense right? If you don't have these lights on your vehicle, they are designed to help you see as much of the road as possible in your immediate vicinity. For anyone who's tried to use their "brights" to see through the fog, they know it only makes it more difficult to see.
Lastly, focus on what's most important. There are times when the solid white stripe on the side of the road is the only thing you can count on to keep you on track. Staring directly into the fog too long will only disorient you. Likewise, taking your eyes off the road to change your radio or fiddle with something in the car could quickly result in tragedy.
OK, there is one more thing. There are times when the fog is so thick you should put on your hazard lights to ensure the people behind you know where you're going. This is also a signal to them the conditions ahead are getting worse, so they have time to slow down, illuminate their path, and focus on what's important.
If you've read this far, you might have figured out this is starting to sound like an article about leadership.
These are challenging and uncertain times in which we live. Our missions are complex, our budgets limited, and at times, our people are stressed. Often, we are faced with limited information, short deadlines, and the expectation we will find a way through the fog of our situation ... whatever it may be.
Yet, despite all these challenges and the expectation to succeed, leaders at all levels can ensure we get to where we need to go by slowing down, shedding light on what's important and signaling appropriately to those who follow so they can anticipate the challenges and be ready to face them.
Maybe the fog isn't so scary after all? Drive on!