Chapter 3

Safety Awareness

Safety instruction is defined in the AR 385-series as a command responsibility. A training program emphasizing safety can prevent loss of life, damage to property and equipment, and personal injury. Safety practices and application must be monitored at all times during the training phase through performance to standards. Much of this information may already be incorporated in unit TSPs for Stryker vehicles. This chapter discusses safety, common causes of vehicle accidents, and the actions drivers, crews, and leaders should take to prevent accidents. Leaders should read this chapter, review TSPs, and where appropriate, supplement safety and environmental instruction for unit drivers.


3-1.        Safety is a component of force protection. Commanders, leaders, and Soldiers use risk assessment and management to tie force protection into the mission. Risk management assigns responsibility, institutionalizes the commander's review of operational safety, and leads to decisionmaking appropriate to the risk. The objective of safety is to help units protect combat power through accident prevention, which enables units to fight rapidly and decisively with minimum losses. Safety is an integral part of all combat operations. Safety begins with readiness, which determines a unit's ability to perform its mission essential task list (METL) to standard.

3-2.        Risk management is a tool that addresses the root causes of accidents (readiness shortcomings). It assists commanders and leaders identify the source of the next accident and who will have it. Risk management is a way to put more realism into training without paying the price in deaths, injuries, or damaged equipment.

3-3.        Safety demands total chain of command involvement in planning, preparing, executing, and evaluating training. Chain of command responsibilities follow.

Commanders −

    l        Seek optimum, not adequate, performance.

    l        Specify the risk they will accept to accomplish the mission.

    l        Select risk reductions provided by the staff.

    l        Accept or reject residual risk, based on the benefit to be derived.

    l        Train and motivate leaders at all levels to effectively use risk management concepts.

Staff −

    l        Assist the commander in assessing risks, and develop risk reduction options for training.

    l        Integrate risk controls in plans, orders, METL standards, and performance measures.

    l        Eliminate unnecessary safety restrictions that diminish training effectiveness.

    l        Assess safety performance during training.

    l        Evaluate safety performance during after-action reviews (AAR).

Subordinate leaders −

    l        Apply effective risk management concepts and methods consistently to operations they lead.

    l        Enforce risk management in accordance with the commander's guidance and intent.

    l        Report risk issues beyond their control or authority to their superiors.

Individual Soldiers −

    l        Report unsafe conditions and act to correct the situation when possible.

    l        Establish a buddy system to keep a safety watch on one another.

    l        Take responsibility for personal safety.

    l        Work as team members.

    l        Modify individual risk behavior.

3-4.        Risk management is a five-step cyclic process that is easily integrated into the decisionmaking process outlined in FM 100-14. The five steps are:

(1)     Identify Hazards. Identify hazards to the force. Consider all aspects of current and future situations, the environment, and known historical problems.

(2)     Assess Hazards. Assess hazards using the risk assessment matrix in Figure 3-1. Assess the conditions listed in each category to derive a numeric value where two conditions intersect. Then add the numeric value of each category to determine the risk value. This number will represent the level of risk for the operation assessed.

(3)     Develop Controls and Make Risk Decisions. Develop controls that eliminate a hazard or reduce its risk. As control measures are developed, risks are reevaluated until all risks are reduced to a level where benefits outweigh potential costs. Accept no unnecessary risks and make any residual risk decisions at the proper level of command.

(4)     Implement Controls. Put controls in place to eliminate the hazards or reduce their risk.

(5)     Supervise and Evaluate. Enforce standards and controls. Evaluate the effectiveness of controls and adjust/update them as necessary.


NOTE:  The Risk Management Training Support Package for Soldiers, developed by the U.S. Army Safety Center, should be used to train personnel on the five-step risk management process and the risk assessment matrix. To obtain this training support package, contact the U.S. Army Safety Center, ATTN: CSSC-RA, Fort Rucker, AL 36362-5363. (E-mail address: http://"CSSC"


Figure 3-1. Standard risk assessment matrix.


3-5.        Soldiers are responsible for operating both tactical and nontactical vehicles in a safe and prudent manner. Failure to operate a vehicle safely in accordance with all driving laws, regulations and procedures can lead to administrative and military justice consequences. Consequences can include reprimand, report of survey, Article 15, or more serious actions. A Soldier can be held financially liable for the damage caused to his vehicle or another Government vehicle. The Government is also responsible for the actions of  military vehicle operators. Accidents and property damage caused by Army drivers result in millions of dollars in liability for the Government each year. More dollars for accidents mean fewer dollars for training.


3-6.        Everyone in the chain of command should strictly supervise driver training for Stryker vehicle drivers. The following guidelines have proven to be effective when integrated into training and should be included in programs of instruction:

    l        Conduct a complete and thorough safety briefing before the start of all training sessions.

    l        Make sure all drivers are trained and licensed to operate their assigned Stryker vehicles. During training, student drivers should     have an OF 346 (U.S. Government Motor Vehicle Operator's Identification Card) stamped "LEARNER". A licensed instructor must     accompany a student driver with a learner's permit when he drives. The student must never be permitted to operate a Stryker vehicle     without proper supervision.

    l        Use caution when driving through towns and villages. Streets are sometimes narrow and difficult to negotiate. If the driver is in     doubt, he should stop so the vehicle commander can dismount a ground guide. Pay attention to pedestrians, and be aware that     Stryker vehicles draw curious people who have no idea how dangerous the vehicles can be.

    l        Be aware of vehicle height when entering tunnels, underpasses, and building overhangs close to roadways.

    l        Beware of icy spots on roadways, especially overpasses, which ice over very quickly.

    l        Be alert to the presence of overhead power lines. Before driving on roadways, tie down antennas to make sure they do not come in     contact with overhead power lines.

    l        Be aware of steep or excessively rough terrain.

    l        Make sure drivers understand all road and traffic signals. Despite their size, Stryker vehicles do not always have the right-of-way     on roadways.

    l        Before crossing any bridge or overpass, note the bridge load classification and the height/width limitations of the underpass. If the     vehicle exceeds the classification, it cannot cross.

hearing protection

3-7.        Hearing loss is a concern among Stryker crewmen because of improper fit, wear, and maintenance of combat vehicle crewman (CVC) helmets. Commanders must therefore make sure that each Soldier is properly fitted with a helmet, and that helmets are properly maintained. All crew members will wear CVC helmets. Passengers will wear ear plugs and Kevlar helmets when the vehicle is operating. When the CVC helmet is worn, make sure the chinstrap is fastened. The CVC helmet will not properly reduce sound unless it is fastened. Personnel should also wear hearing protection while performing maintenance on a Stryker vehicle.


3-8.        Do not move a Stryker vehicle until intercommunications have been established between all crew members. If communications are lost, the vehicle must halt immediately. The crew should troubleshoot the system and notify organizational maintenance if assistance is required. For safety, the unit commander can authorize the movement or removal of the disabled vehicle.

escort vehicles

3-9.        A wheeled vehicle with rotating amber warning light(s) (RAWL) should precede a Stryker vehicle or column of Stryker vehicles traveling on a road. On high-speed roads when traffic is normal and enemy contact is not imminent, convoy escort vehicles equipped with RAWLs and required convoy signs or flags should be positioned in the front and rear (IAW with local command policy).

shop and motor pool

3-10.     Certain precautions must be taken in a maintenance shop or motor pool. Oil, water, and antifreeze spills can cause serious injury. To prevent injuries, all spills must be cleaned up immediately, and the work area should be kept clean at all times. Many injuries result from using the wrong tools and equipment. All personnel should therefore be instructed in the proper use of Stryker equipment and tools. All military vehicles must be equipped with chock blocks for use when maintenance is performed and when vehicles are parked on inclines. To prevent severe injuries to fingers, wrists, and limbs, all jewelry must be removed before mounting, dismounting, or performing Stryker maintenance.

hatch covers

3-11.     Injuries caused by unsecured hatch covers are common. All crew members must therefore check all hatches before operating a Stryker vehicle to make sure they are serviceable and locked in the proper position. Many vehicles are equipped with chains to secure the hatches. When vehicles are equipped with chains, they must be used.

riding position

3-12.     Crew members in a Stryker vehicle must wear CVC helmets and ride with only their heads and shoulders extended (name tag defilade) out of the hatches. When a Stryker vehicle collides or overturns, injuries are usually the result of crew members being thrown from the vehicle. If seat belts are installed, they must be worn.

speed control

3-13.     Elements in a column of any length may simultaneously encounter many different types of routes and obstacles. This causes different parts of the column to move at varying speeds at the same time. To increase safety and reduce column whipping, the movement or march order should give march speed, vehicle interval, and maximum catch-up speed.

emergency stopping procedures

3-14.     The Stryker driver may have to apply emergency stopping procedures in response to the loss of brakes, steering, or engine power. TMs are available that address emergency stopping procedures. If brake failure occurs, the following seven steps should be performed by a Stryker driver.



All crew members must remain inside the vehicle.


(1)           Driver notifies the vehicle commander that the brakes have malfunctioned.

(2)           Driver moves the gear select to N (neutral).

(3)           Driver centers the steering column.

(4)           Driver lets the vehicle coast to a stop.

(5)           Driver sets the parking brake if the vehicle has one.

(6)           Driver shuts down the engine once the vehicle has stopped.

(7)           Vehicle commander notifies the chain of command.

mounting and dismounting stryker vehicles

3-15.     Commanders and crew members, especially drivers, must make sure the following rules for mounting and dismounting Stryker vehicles are strictly observed by everyone:

    l        Use extreme caution when mounting or dismounting a vehicle.

    l        Never climb in front of a weapon to mount the vehicle. Stryker vehicle commanders must make sure that all weapon systems are     clear and positioned to allow safe access.

    l        When mounting or dismounting a vehicle with the engine running, make sure the driver knows personnel are going to mount or     dismount. On moving firing ranges, personnel should mount vehicles over the right front fender. Make sure the driver is aware of a     crew member's intention to mount.

    l        Mount the Stryker vehicles from the front (drivers only). Crew members should mount from only the rear.

    l        Always maintain three points of contact (one hand and two feet or two hands and one foot) with the vehicle when mounting,     dismounting, or moving around on the vehicle.

    l        Never mount or dismount a moving vehicle. Drivers must bring the vehicle to a complete halt before allowing anyone to mount or     dismount.

    l        Never dismount a vehicle by jumping from it.

crew evacuation drills

3-16.     Crew evacuation drills are often overlooked during training. The probability of an injury can be significantly reduced if crews practice proper evacuation techniques. Vehicle TMs provide emergency procedures, which should be incorporated into driver and crew training programs.

slave starting

3-17.     When slave starting a vehicle, always position the live vehicle alongside the dead vehicle. Never position vehicles nose-to-nose. Do not stand between the moving vehicle and the dead vehicle. Serious injury or death could result.

stryker vehicle accidents

Fatigue and Sleep Loss

3-18.     Fatigue and sleep loss are often factors in vehicle accidents. To minimize the effects of sleep loss, commanders must develop and follow a sleep plan based on the following considerations:

    l        At least five hours sleep is required to enable an individual to maintain optimal performance; humans do not adapt well to     shortened sleep cycles.

    l        Physical strength remains unimpaired until extreme levels of sleep deprivation are reached.

    l        The most difficult jobs for the sleep-deprived are tasks requiring swift decisions or complex planning.

    l        Sleep loss typically causes errors of omission.

    l        Prolonged heat exposure, confinement, noise, and vibration (all of which are present in Stryker vehicles) degrade performance and     ability to cope with sleep loss.

    l        Diminished awareness. Drivers should be checked for symptoms of fatigue or use of controlled substances. Personnel taking     prescription drugs that may cause drowsiness should not drive.

Situational Awareness

3-19.     To avoid situations conducive to accidental injury and to minimize the possibility of injury in those situations that cannot be avoided, drivers and crew members must be alert at all times. Take extra precautions when the vehicle's metal decks are wet, muddy, or snow covered. They become extremely slippery under those conditions. Likewise, drivers and crew members should remain alert to the position of weapons, hatches, and other metal projections. Accidental contact with these or any other projected objects can result in serious injury.

Blind Spots

3-20.     Stryker vehicles have blind spots where the hull blocks the forward or peripheral vision of the driver, preventing him from seeing objects on the ground. The vehicle commander and other crew members should help the driver identify objects in his blind spot. The driver should anticipate approaching objects that may fall into this blind spot as he nears them. If in doubt, the vehicle commander should use a ground guide to assist the driver.

Loss of Control

3-21.     Driving too fast for road conditions is the main cause for loss of control in Stryker vehicles. If the driver loses control of his vehicle, he must take immediate steps to regain control. He must release the accelerator, avoid applying the brakes, and let the vehicle coast to a stop. If the vehicle is sliding, the driver must steer in the direction of the skid to regain vehicle control. If the vehicle appears to be sliding or rolling over into a body of water, the driver should attempt to steer into the water to prevent a submerging rollover.  The crew is more likely to survive in an upright vehicle than one overturned.


3-22.     The safest place for the crew during a rollover is inside the vehicle. If a Stryker vehicle is about to roll over, the driver must alert the crew members so they can drop inside the vehicle and assume a safe position by bracing themselves. The driver must lower his seat and brace himself. Crews must practice rollover procedures.

Accident Prevention

3-23.     To prevent accidents, drivers must—

(1)           Adjust speed and interval to allow for wet road surfaces.

(2)           Notify vehicle commander when he is getting sleepy.

(3)           Employ proper techniques to prevent or recover from a skid.

(4)           Be rotated frequently.

(5)           Slow down after dropping off the edge of the roadway before pulling back on the pavement.

(6)           Make sure vehicles have been safety inspected and maintained.

(7)           Use the recommended pumping action in emergencies instead of locking the brakes.

(8)           Allow for the added force of the weight of the vehicle when quick stops are necessary.

(9)           Come to a complete stop and downshift at the crest of steep grades to control speed.

(10)        Know the distance required for braking at various speeds to make emergency stops safely. This factor is especially important for     vehicles towing or moving heavy loads.

(11)        React and brake when the brake lights of the vehicle ahead go on. Its driver has already reacted to something and the follow-on     vehicles must slow down or stop in the remaining distance.

(12)        After rest stops, inspect beneath vehicles for sleeping personnel.

(13)        Use tow bars rather than cables to move disabled vehicles on roads. If tow cables are used, use a third vehicle of equal weight or     heavier as a braking vehicle.

(14)        Inspect personnel heaters to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning.

Fire Prevention

3-24.     All crew members must be aware of the danger of fire when operating Stryker vehicles. Flammables and miscellaneous items should not be stored in the vehicle. Leaders should establish some simple rules or an SOP to help prevent fires on vehicles. (For details that apply to a specific vehicle, see the vehicle TM.) However, all crew members must be aware of the danger of fire when operating Stryker vehicles.

3-25.     Clean up all gasoline and diesel fuel spills immediately. Use only authorized cleaning agents. Never use gasoline or diesel fuel to clean up spills.

3-26.     All Stryker vehicles are equipped with fire extinguishers, both fixed and portable. Crew members must know how and when to use them. To make sure fire extinguishers are ready for instant use, periodically weigh or check them to determine operability. Replace them if necessary.

(1)     Fixed Fire Extinguishers. Fixed fire extinguishers that require only the action of a trip handle or sensor to operate are installed on vehicles to cover areas where fires are most likely to start. They should be inspected during the preventive maintenance checks and services, in accordance with the vehicle's TM. Do not start the engine of a Stryker vehicle if the fixed fire extinguishers are inoperable, or if they have been removed for maintenance.

(2)     Portable Fire Extinguishers. Portable fire extinguishers are used to fight fires outside the effective range of fixed extinguishers. Portable extinguishers must be manned whenever the vehicle is being refueled. They should be inspected during the preventive maintenance checks and services. If they are inoperable, they should be replaced or refilled before the vehicle is started.

Ground Guides

3-27.     Ground guides are needed for safe movement of Stryker vehicles.



Using ground guides is so routine that safety rules are sometimes overlooked. This must not happen.


3-28.     Train ground guides and drivers in standard arm-and-hand and flashlight signals before guiding or driving Stryker vehicles. Drivers and ground guides must know and observe the following rules:

(1)           Ground guides are required when a Stryker vehicle is moved in a confined or congested area. They are also necessary during limited     visibility and when the driver is in doubt about adequate clearance in areas such as narrow bridges and passages with low     overhead clearances.

(2)           Ground guides should never stand in front of a vehicle when the engine is running. They should stand beside the right or left     fender when talking to and directing the driver.

(3)           Ground guides must be used in cantonments, bivouac sites, and parking areas.

(4)           Ground guides must never run in front of vehicles or walk backwards while guiding vehicles.

(5)           Flashlights with a colored filter should be used when vehicles are moved at night.

(6)           Ground guides should walk 30 feet in front of—and to the left of the left fender—to observe traffic to the front and rear of the     vehicles. A ground guide is the correct distance from a Stryker vehicle when the driver can see the ground guide's feet.

(7)           Any time a Stryker vehicle is being moved in reverse and a ground guide is necessary, two ground guides must be used. The rear     ground guide must always be visible to the front ground guide.

(8)           If the driver loses sight of the signal, or if there is any question about the signal from the ground guide, the driver should stop until     the signal is visible or the confusion is eliminated.

(9)           The front ground guide should immediately signal the driver to stop if he loses sight of the signal of the rear ground guide.

(10)        When a vehicle arrives at a night parking area (other than the occupation of an assembly area as a part of a tactical operation), a     ground guide dismounts and establishes contact with the guard on duty. The guide and the driver must understand where the     sleeping area is, and where the vehicle is to be parked. The ground guide must search the area for people sleeping on the ground     where the vehicle is to park before he moves the vehicle into the parking area. As a minimum, blackout drive must be used. If     conditions permit, the service drive should be used.

(11)        All tactical sleeping areas must be marked with a chemical light or flashlight and have a guard equipped with night vision goggles     (NVG). The guard must hand carry a flashlight or chemical light to signal or guide vehicles. The guard must be briefed on his duties     and on what actions he should take when a vehicle drives into the bivouac or assembly area. A loud, distinct, audible warning     device must either be carried by the guard or be accessible in case a vehicle enters a designated sleeping area. Troops who sleep in     the area must be briefed on what device is being used and what action they should take. (The unit SOP must specify the same     information.) The first priority of the guard is to warn sleeping personnel. He must then attempt to gain the attention of the     vehicle driver or vehicle commander without endangering himself.

(12)        All road accesses into the bivouac or assembly area must have a guard posted to warn vehicle crews that there are troops on the     ground. The guard should help ground guide the vehicle to its destination, ensuring that, as a minimum, blackout drive is used. If     conditions permit, the service drive should be used.

Disabled Vehicles

3-29.     If a vehicle becomes disabled, the crew should do everything possible not to obstruct traffic or create conditions that might cause an accident. If possible, crew members should move the vehicle out of the way and post guides. Approaching vehicles must be warned. Flares, warning triangles, flashlights, and reflective vests are normally available as warning devices. At least two warning triangles should be carried on each vehicle. To alert traffic to a disabled vehicle, the crew should place the triangles on the shoulder of the road 100 meters behind the vehicle.

Rough Terrain

3-30.     Stryker vehicles travel easily and quickly over rough terrain. This may give drivers false confidence in their driving ability. Frequent accidents occur when Stryker drivers moving cross-country attempt negotiating too quickly obstacles they underestimate or fail to see such as holes and ditches. Accidental steering loss, mechanical failure, and crew casualties can result.

3-31.     Drivers can forget that other crew members may not be in secure seating positions, and that they can be thrown around inside of vehicles when encountering rough terrain. The driver and vehicle commander must therefore warn crew members when rough terrain is approaching so they can brace themselves properly. Warnings should also be given when driving under tree limbs and man-made features.

3-32.     The difficulty of negotiating rough terrain is compounded when visibility is poor (such as driving through snow, rain, sleet, fog, dust, or battle smoke). Drivers and vehicle commanders must therefore adjust their vehicle speed accordingly to ensure the safety of the crew and vehicle. Reasons drivers lose vehicle control include:

    l        Loss of steering.

    l        Loss of brakes.

    l        Loss of traction.

    l        Excess speed.

    l        Over steering.

    l        Improper braking and downshifting.

    l        Adverse weather conditions.

    l        Faulty roadbed.

    l        Very rough or unstable terrain.

3-33.     Drivers and vehicle commanders should observe the following rules when negotiating rough terrain:

    l        Alert crew members when approaching rough terrain.

    l        Scan the area ahead of the vehicle to detect obstacles, holes, and ditches as early as possible.

    l        Use common sense to judge a safe speed to negotiate obstacles, holes, and ditches.

    l        Make sure all equipment inside the vehicle, especially ammunition and empty canisters, are secured before negotiating rough     terrain.

    l        Make sure crew members and passengers wear installed seatbelts at all times.

    l        Make sure all hatches are in the locked position before encountering rough terrain. Have crew members periodically inspect open     hatches to make sure they stay in the locked positions. Safety pins must be in place if equipped.

    l        Warn the crew when approaching overhead obstacles.

    l        Warn the crew when the vehicle goes out of control.

3-34.     Unit commanders and vehicle commanders must remember that the urgency of tactical maneuvering does not outweigh the safety of the crew and vehicle. It is the responsibility of the vehicle commander to make sure the driver operates the vehicle at safe speeds to allow control of the vehicle at all times. Safe vehicle operation is directly affected by the terrain and weather conditions.

Vehicle Recovery

3-35.     Vehicle recovery is difficult and time consuming. FM 4-30.31 explains in detail the various recovery methods and techniques.

Refueling Operations

3-36.     Refueling is a total crew effort. Each crew member should be assigned specific duties and responsibilities to complete the process. Drivers normally refuel the vehicle while other crew members take care of the remaining petroleum, oil, and lubricant (POL) requirements. The unit SOP must include the following refueling requirements:

    l        Any vehicle approaching a refueling point must have two ground guides, one front and one rear. The POL handler may act as     ground guide.

    l        All vehicles should park on level ground with the parking brake on.

    l        The vehicle engine must be off.

    l        A crew member or fuel handler on the ground will have a portable fire extinguisher available.

    l        Vehicles must be grounded while refueling.

    l        No smoking will be allowed within 50 feet of the vehicle refueling point.

    l        Any spilled fuel on the vehicle should be cleaned up prior to moving out.

    l        All POL products stowed on board must be secured prior to moving out.

3-37.     During tactical operations, the vehicle may be refueled under combat or simulated combat conditions. Assign each crew member specific duties and responsibilities during refueling. During tactical refueling, the driver remains in the driver's compartment, while the crew refuels the vehicle. Refueling under combat or simulated combat conditions should be the same as under usual conditions except when—

    l        The vehicle will continue to run.

    l        The vehicle commander and one crew member refuels the vehicle, while one crew member maintains security.

    l        A portable fire extinguisher must be held by the second crew member outside the vehicle.

    l        A fuel handler will be on the ground to supervise the refueling operation. He should have a fire extinguisher available in case of fire,     as well.

Railhead Operations

3-38.     A safety briefing should be conducted before railhead operations. The briefing should include the following information:

(1)           Do not smoke during loading operations. A smoking area should be designated at least 50 feet away from the nearest vehicle.

(2)           Wear protective headgear until you are clear of the railcars.

(3)           Be alert for hazards that could cause electrocution. All antennas and equipment stored on the outside of the vehicle should be     removed or secured before moving onto the railcar.

(4)           Do not stand on top of vehicles.

(5)           Secure all weapon systems in travel lock position before loading them onto the railcar.

(6)           Do not stand on moving flatcars.

(7)           Guide from at least a one-car interval away from the vehicle you are guiding. Ground guides will never guide from the railcars onto     which their vehicles are loading.

(8)           Do not walk backward while ground guiding on railcars or when you are in the path of a moving vehicle.

(9)           Secure all hatches when the rail master has inspected the train and released it for movement.

(10)        Loading is complete when the rail master has inspected the train and released it for movement.

Night Operations

3-39.     Night driving operations demand extraordinary precautions by the driver and vehicle commander. They must adjust the speed of the vehicle to ensure the safety of the crew and vehicle.

Limited Visibility

    l        Limited visibility will cause the driver to lose sight of emerging terrain, obstacles, or oncoming traffic. Drivers should not look     directly into oncoming headlights due to the possibility of  temporary blindness. The driver should watch the right edge of the road     until the oncoming vehicle has passed. Once night vision is lost, it takes several minutes to regain it.

    l        If a life-threatening situation occurs in a training environment during limited visibility or night driving conditions, the vehicle's     service driving lights and interior white lights should be turned on (subject to unit policies). This action warns other vehicles of     Stryker vehicle presence, indicates there is an emergency, and lets the crew see. Emergency information should be shared by radio     on the unit frequency to explain the nature of the problem and the required help. Commanders should specify in the unit SOP that     blackout marker or blackout drive (as a minimum) be used during all night maneuvers.

    l        When driving during limited visibility in a nontactical mode, service drive lights should be turned on. These rules should be in the     unit SOP and applied during normal operations. During limited visibility or blackout operations, the unit commander and vehicle     crew should ensure the  following safety measures are taken:

    n         Before moving a vehicle in an assembly area, a member of the crew walks completely around the vehicle to     ensure vehicle movement will not endanger anyone. The vehicle commander gives the command "CLEAR" to     indicate it is safe to start and move thevehicle.

    n         During combined operations, a safe distance is maintained between dismounted troops and moving vehicles.

    n         Personnel assigned dismounted tasks during blackout conditions are given ample time to complete their tasks.     If possible, conduct a detailed daytime reconnaissance of the terrain.

    n         Individuals assigned dismounted tasks are authorized to halt an exercise to correct a hazardous situation,     adjust speed to conditions, or maintain proper interval during convoy operations.

    n         Vehicle is halted if driver's vision is blocked or VC's vision devices become obscured.

Night Vision Devices (NVD)

    l        Night tactical operations increase the problems facing the driver and vehicle commander. Night vision devices give the driver a     limited field of view and distorted depth perception, so vehicle speed must be slower at night than during the day. The vehicle     commander should wear NVDs to help his driver negotiate the terrain. During practice sessions, a maximum vehicle speed of 10 mph     should be maintained until night vision driving experience is obtained. Avoid overconfidence. NVD skills deteriorate without use,     so they must be practiced and maintained. When driving with a NVD, the driver must wear the head harness so both hands remain     free for driving. Wearing the NVD for extended periods causes eyestrain, so drivers should stop a minimum of every 30 minutes     to rest the eyes for at least 3 minutes.

    l        During periods of reduced visibility, such as at night during severe weather (especially during heavy rain, frequent lightning     flashes, or heavy overcast), the night vision viewer cannot be relied upon for safe vehicle operations. The unit SOP should specify     whether or not to slow down or stop field exercises when severe environmental hazards exist.

Dust and Smoke

3-40.     During normal operations, dust can be a concern when driving in any formation; smoke will most likely present a problem during field training exercises. Drivers and vehicle commanders should observe the following rules when traveling under dust or smoke conditions:

(1)           Regardless of visibility conditions, goggles should be worn when driving in an open-hatch position. Clear-lensed goggles should     be worn at night unless NVDs are used. Bandannas or surgical masks should be worn over the nose and mouth to avoid breathing     heavy dust or smoke.

(2)           Vehicles in an extended convoy should maintain a distance of twice the normal interval, or as specified in the unit SOP, during     dusty conditions to allow the dust to dissipate. When driving on extremely dusty roads or trails, a staggered column formation     should be used if traffic conditions permit. If vehicles in a convoy become engulfed in dust, the convoy commander should adjust     his convoy's speed accordingly. Any vehicle commander who becomes engulfed in dust should alert the convoy commander by     radio, move to the right side of the road, and stop to allow the dust to dissipate. Do not back up vehicles while engulfed in dust.     Observe extreme caution to ensure oncoming vehicles are not jeopardized. The lead vehicle must warn trail vehicles to return to     column formation if traffic is encountered.

(3)           While driving in-line, vehicles should maintain their horizontal distance and adjust speed to dust or smoke conditions. If dust or     smoke becomes so thick that total disorientation or vertigo  occur, the platoon leader/sergeant should radio to halt the formation.     Vehicles should not be backed up while engulfed in dust or smoke.

Shallow Water Fording Operations

3-41.     A preoperational plan with an emphasis on safety is the key to reducing unnecessary risks. Following are some important shallow water fording considerations that should be incorporated into the unit SOP:

(1)           Make sure the fording site has adequate entrance and exit points and a firm bottom.

(2)           Make sure the water depth at the fording site is below the vehicle fording limits and the site is clear of submerged obstacles.

(3)           Make sure dismounted troops crossing are attached to a safety line.

(4)           Do not cross more than one vehicle at the same time, and do not cross a vehicle beside dismounted troops.

(5)           During training exercises, make sure drivers and crew members wear life vests if water is over 4-feet deep.

(6)           Do not exceed 4 mph.

(7)           Make sure all vehicle fording and swimming instructions are followed in accordance with the vehicle TM.

(8)           Do not wear load-bearing equipment (LBE) during fording operations. It could snag on vehicle components and prevent crew     members from evacuating through the top hatches during emergencies.

(9)           Leave top hatches open in case the crew needs to evacuate.

(10)        Store sensitive items and small arms inside the vehicle. If the vehicle sinks, these items can be recovered easily.

Cold Weather Operations

3-42.     Cold weather conditions require additional precautions and actions by the driver. The driver must adjust speed, following distance, and driving techniques to counter the hazards of snow, ice, and freezing conditions. The unit SOP should list winter clothing that will be carried by crews during cold weather operations. Squad leaders should inspect crew members to make sure the required clothing is worn during maneuvers and while conducting vehicle maintenance.

Convoy Driving

3-43.     The planning and coordination involved in convoy operations require aggressive staff action. FM 55-30, chapter 5 describes convoy operations, telling how to plan, organize, and control them, and provides a guide for training individual drivers.


3-44.     Fratricide is a component of force protection and is closely related to safety.

(1)     Fratricide is the employment of weapons with the intent to kill the enemy or destroy his equipment that results in unforeseen and unintentional death, injury, or damage to friendly personnel or equipment.

(2)     Fratricide is by definition an accident.

(3)     Risk assessment and management is the mechanism with which incidence of fratricide can be controlled.

Primary Causes

3-45.     The primary causes of fratricide are:

    l        Direct fire control failures. These occur when units fail to develop defensive and, particularly, offensive fire control plans.

    l        Land navigation failures. This results when units stray out of sector, report wrong locations, and become disoriented.

    l        Combat identification failures. These failures include gunners being unable to distinguish thermal and optical signatures near the     maximum range of their sighting systems and units in proximity mistaking each other for the enemy under limited visibility     conditions.

    l        Inadequate control measures. Units fail to disseminate the minimum maneuver and fire support control measures necessary to tie     control measures to recognizable terrain or events.

    l        Reporting communication failures. Units at all levels face problems in generating timely, accurate, and complete reports as     locations and tactical situations change.

    l        Weapons errors. Lapses in individual discipline lead to weapon charging errors, accidental discharges, mistakes with explosives     and hand grenades, and similar incidents.

Harmful results

3-46.     Fratricide results in unacceptable losses and increases the risk of mission failure. Fratricide undermines the unit's ability to survive and function. Units experiencing fratricide often observe these consequences:

    l        Loss of confidence in the unit leadership.

    l        Increasing self-doubt among leaders.

    l        Hesitation to use supporting combat systems.

    l        Over supervision of units.

    l        Hesitation to conduct night operations.

    l        Loss of aggressiveness during fire and maneuver.

    l        Loss of initiative.

    l        Disrupted operations.

    l        General degradation of cohesiveness, morale, and combat power.

3-47.     Actions to control fratricide should include the following:

    l        Establish a restricted fire line or other spatial separation from supporting fires.

    l        Reconnoiter and mark the entire route with key leaders.

    l        Train vehicle recognition and identification continually.

    l        Complete full-force rehearsals of all phases and possible contingencies.

    l        Coordinate with any adjacent units that will move mounted or dismounted.

    l        Enforce absolute compliance with sleep plan.


NOTE:  Fratricide risk assessment and reduction measures are provided in the Center for Army Lessons Learned (CALL) Handbook No. 92-3. To obtain this handbook, contact the Center for Army Lessons Learned, US Army Combined Arms Command, ATTN: ATZL-CTL, Fort Leavenworth, KS 66027-7000. (E-mail address:

Table of Contents