Seniors Brush Up Safe Driving Skills

Topeka (WIBW) - Tim Edwards has taught AARP's driver safety program for years and says the lessons for seniors haven't changed.

He says, as we age, we need to realize our eye sight, our reaction time and our attention span are all changing.

When it comes to sight, our peripheral vision goes first, making intersections risky business. To compensate, Edwards says, we must learn to physically turn our head from side to side to take a good look for oncoming traffic.

Making a change with the side vehicle mirror may help, too. Experts recommend adjusting the mirror so you barely see the side of the car. Edwards says you'll see more space, getting more of the blind spot in view.

Reaction time slows as we age. Edwards says that means allowing enough space to react to what may enter the road in front of and around us. It's recommended we increase following distance from two seconds to three seconds.

Of course, that won't help if we're not paying attention! Edwards says the older mind tends to wander more easily, whether it's because of how a medication might be affecting you or other factors. Focus is key.

Edwards says to be aware of everything inside and outside the vehicle. Keep the eyes moving, scanning at least a block ahead, and take frequent breaks. Edwards suggests not staying behind the wheel more than an hour without getting out and moving around.

The next AARP Driver Safety Class is coming up August 20th and 21st at Stormont-Vail's Pozez Education Center. The class is held from 10 am to 3 pm over both days. Cost is $12 for AARP members and $14 for non-members.

The class is targeted to driver aged 50 and older, but anyone who completes the course is eligible for a discount on insurance. Register by calling HealthConnections at 785-354-5225.

631 SW Commerce Pl. Topeka, Kansas 66615 phone: 785-272-6397 fax: 785-272-1363 email:
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