Archive for Thursday, January 7, 2010

Driving in snow and ice

January 7, 2010

The snowy, icy weather we are having now is quite a challenge to young and even experienced drivers. As we age we need to be even more aware of the safety issues and the changes in our health problems, such as vision and hearing loss.

AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety has a wonderful program for senior drivers. They say the fatality rate for drivers over 65 is 17 times higher than drivers between 25 and 64. Some of the things that help are refresher courses, reasonable limits, safe routes and other minor adjustments for senior drivers. Experts agree that driving ability begins to deteriorate at age 55. Still, drivers are not all the same. Some continue to drive safely well into old age. Others can’t.

Most of us senior drivers agree that having to give up driving is the hardest thing to do. The independence is gone and none of us look forward to that.

Most accidents are when you make a left turn. I once heard a funny story about a man’s elderly mom who did all the driving but would never make a left turn. Sometimes she would drive blocks and even miles to keep from making a left turn. When you think about it, it can be done.

This time of year always drive with your lights on. Do not use cruise control or overdrive on wet or icy roads. Be especially careful on overpasses and bridges when wet, as they always freeze first. Do not pass snow plows or sanding trucks. Those drivers have a limited visibility and you are likely to find the road ahead more dangerous than the one behind. Don’t assume that you or your vehicle can handle all conditions. Even four wheel and front wheel vehicles can encounter trouble on winter roads.

Hopefully by the time you read this, the weather will be warm and the ice and snow will be gone. But in the meantime, use all the safety precautions you can. Stay safe and have a Happy New Year.

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