July 22, 2010Ed. note: Today we are pleased to present a guest post from Beth Tracton-Bishop, Ph.D, a gerontologist with The Hartford Advance 50 Team and an expert on aging and driver safety. Click on her name above for a full biography. Have you ever heard of the phrase “driving wellness”? It’s a relatively new term that takes a holistic approach to keeping driving skills sharp that we’ve developed here at The Hartford Advance 50 Team. Driving wellness includes being knowledgeable and up-to-date about the rules of the road; maximizing your personal health and fitness related to driving; and seeking a qualified professional for any concerns about your confidence or ability to drive. It’s a great concept that highlights how we all have a personal responsibility to maintain our knowledge, skills and abilities on the road. Take time to plan for preserving your driving independence for years to come. Here are four steps you can take to be a safer driver.
- Be a healthy driver. You can improve your driving by taking care of your health – by getting regular checkups, considering the side-effects of any medications you are taking, having a thorough eye exam and exercising regularly.
- Keep learning. Several existing defensive driver programs provide a baseline of knowledge about safe driving as we grow older. In some states, drivers may receive a discount on their insurance for completing one of these programs. Drivers who keep learning can stay safer on the road. Brain training, like Drivesharp from Posit Science, can go a long way in prolonging your safe driving by helping you to improve the speed with which you process information, expand your peripheral vision and see more and react more quickly.
- Adjust to changes in your driving skills. Adult drivers need to be aware of age-related changes and make appropriate adjustments to their driving, such as limiting driving at night, during rush hour, or long distances. Adult drivers can also have their skills assessed by a medical professional specifically trained to understand driving issues, and receive driving rehabilitation if needed.
- Ensure your car’s safety. Safety should always be the most important consideration when choosing a car and when driving it. First, choose the car that fits you. The better the fit between you and your car, the more comfortable, in control and safe you’ll be. Second, know your car’s safety features. Vehicle safety systems that are designed to protect you in a crash have come a long way. To get the most from these safety features, you need to use them properly and in combination with one another. And third, maintain your car. Follow the maintenance guidelines included in your car’s manual and you should be in good shape. This includes both major vehicle checkups as well as the little things that can make a world of difference to your safety.
To learn more about each step download or order your free copy of You and Your Car: A Guide to Driving Wellness today. And for expert advice, discussions and tools designed to keep you safe on the road for a lifetime, check out www.safedrivingforalifetime.com. You’ll be glad you did!