Driving safety suggestions for seniors to keep in mind

5/15/2013

Last week, this column asked you to evaluate your driving. Today, we will cover some suggestions for senior drivers from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and AARP.

Last week, this column asked you to evaluate your driving. Today, we will cover some suggestions for senior drivers from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and AARP.

Physical changes or certain health conditions that often come with age may make it necessary to change the way you drive or take steps to improve your driving skills. Keeping track of changes in your physical fitness, eyesight and reflexes can help keep you safe.

Here are some suggestions:

* Make sure you are able to see well enough: Have your vision checked annually; if you have trouble seeing at night, limit your driving to daytime hours; keep windshield, mirrors and headlights clean.

* Adjust your seat's height so you can see the road for at least 20 feet ahead of your car. This will help reduce glare from incoming headlights.

* Looking at the lower right side of the road will help reduce the glare. You might also try wearing anti-reflective lenses and polarized sunglasses.

* Check your side mirror to find your blind spot. Lean your head against the window, then adjust the mirror outward so that when you look at the inside edge, you can barely see the side of your car.

* Take care of any hearing problems:

1) Have your hearing checked every three years.

2) Keep the inside of your vehicle as quiet as possible when driving. Sometimes conversations or radios can be distracting.

3) Watch for flashing lights of emergency vehicles — you may not hear a siren from a distance.

* Address attention and reaction time:

1) Leave enough space between you and the car in front of you.

2) Avoid high-traffic areas and driving during rush hours, if possible.

3) Avoid left turns if they make you uncomfortable. Usually you can make three right turns to get where you want to go.

* Stay fit:

1) If pain and stiffness are problems for you, see your doctor.

2) Exercise and be physically active. It can make driving easier.

3) Physical condition improves drivers' performance. According to one study, 12 weeks of exercises improved older drivers' flexibility, coordination and reflex speed and reduced their driving errors.

* Check your medications:

1) If the label on your medicine says "Do not use while operating heavy machinery," do not drive while taking this medication.

2) Ask your doctor about your medications and how they affect driving.

* Make adjustments for physical limitations:

1) If you are a person who does not see well at night, you might get rides with friends after dark.

2) Take a defensive driving class. These classes can help older people feel more comfortable behind the wheel. Also, many insurers offer discounts to people who take driver-safety classes.

3) Can't take the defensive driving class? Consider taking it online. You will become more familiar with driving laws and techniques that have changed over the years.

* Consider alternative transportation:

1) Take advantage of public transportation if it is available in your area. You may find it easier than driving and parking your own car. Finney County Transit can help with this. Call 272-3620 to make arrangements for the Mini Bus, or to get the City Link schedule. Also, check out taxi cabs and shuttles.

2) Add up the cost of alternate transit compared to gasoline, maintenance and insurance if you drive your own car.

Memorial luncheon

Tickets are available for our annual memorial sponsored luncheon. Join us at noon May 23 for a free meal of porcupine meatballs, scalloped potatoes, broccoli and blueberry dessert. Tickets are required so stop by the senior center office to get your ticket.

Estate planning

Needing a will or other estate plan? The Western Kansas Community Foundation offers this service by appointment with John W. Griffin, estate planner. Griffin is in Garden City once a month and will offer advice on wills, revocable trusts, durable powers of attorney and other planning documents. Call the Western Kansas Community Foundation at 271-9484 to schedule an appointment with him.

Thanks for help

Many thanks to the volunteers who delivered Meals on Wheels last week. Are you interested in helping with Meals on Wheels? Substitute drivers are always needed. If you would like to help, call Patti at 272-3620 or 260-6282.

Scheduled activities

Thursday, the TOPS Club will meet at 8:30 a.m., followed by art class at 10 a.m. Gentle exercises start at 11 a.m. The Ambassador Singers will practice at 1 p.m. Skip-Bo begins at 1 p.m. The Association Board meets at 3:15 p.m. Yoga begins at 6:30 p.m.

Friday begins with line dancing at 8:30 a.m. A nurse from St. Catherine Hospital will be here from 10:30 to 11:30 a.m. Bridge starts at 12:45 p.m.

Saturday, the pool room is open from 1 to 4 p.m.

Sunday has duplicate bridge at 2 p.m.

Monday begins with walking at 8:30 a.m. Double pinochle begins at 12:30 p.m. Duplicate bridge starts at 7 p.m.

Tuesday has gentle exercises at 11 a.m. Pitch starts at 12:30 p.m. Bridge begins at 1:15 p.m. The Finney County Committee on Aging meets at 2 p.m.

May 22 has line dancing at 8:30 a.m. Library outreach is at 11:30 a.m. Pinochle begins at 12:40 p.m. Completely Unraveled meets at 1 p.m. The regular Wednesday night dance featuring "The Last Resort" begins at 7:30 p.m. The recommended donation is $5.

Lunch menus

Lunch is served at noon.

Thursday: Pork roast with gravy, sweet potatoes, oriental vegetables, frosted lime gelatin.

Friday: Spaghetti with meat sauce, green beans, salad, peach crisp, French bread.

Monday: Swiss steak with tomato sauce, baked potato, carrots, ambrosia, wheat bread.

Tuesday: Roast beef and gravy, parsley potatoes, steamed cabbage, bread pudding, muffin.

May 22: Chicken and rice casserole, corn, winter mixed vegetables, lemon bars, wheat roll.

Celebrating 35 years at the Senior Center of Finney County. Check out our website at www.seniorcenterfc.com.

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