Sadie Says … Answers to frequently asked questions about safe driving
Q: Other drivers make me nervous. They’re always speeding around me, tailgating or honking at me. Why is this happening?
A: Have you noticed changes in your driving experience? Does driving stress you out?
Changes with age and certain medications each can bring about changes in hearing, vision, balance, flexibility, alertness, reaction time and sleep patterns — all of which can affect your driving skills.
First and foremost, make sure you are physically and mentally able to drive.
• Are you familiar with the side effects of your over-the-counter and prescription medications?
• Are you getting adequate sleep?
• Are you getting proper nutrition?
• Are you getting adequate exercise?
• Do you have regular eye exams?
• Have you had your hearing tested recently?
• Do you have regular medical exams?
• Do you inform your physician of your alcohol consumption?
• Do you periodically provide your physician with a complete list of prescription, over-the-counter medication or herbal and natural medications and supplements you are taking?
• Do you feel driver training would be beneficial? You can take a Driver Refresher Course to help sharpen your driving skills or research a driver instruction school.
• Do you feel a driver evaluation would make you feel more confident? You can ask your physician to refer you for a driver evaluation through a Rehabilitation Center.
It may be helpful to modify your driving. You may need to limit your driving to avoid:
• Rush hour traffic
• Left turns
• Bad weather
• High speed roadways
• Night, dusk or dawn — when visibility is reduced
Even with your best efforts, you may realize that driving is no longer an option.
As you consider alternatives to driving, consider the perks:
• Saving money — no insurance, registration, repair costs or gas to buy.
• Not having to drive in today’s faster, heavier and more aggressive traffic.
• Using public transportation — some which offer incentives to use their service.
• Using transportation arranged through churches and organizations to attend their services and events.
• Using free delivery services offered by pharmacies, grocery stores and restaurants.
• Arranging for home visits by clergy, medical service providers, and providers of personal services, such as hair stylists.
• Reacquainting with neighbors and friends and connecting with new people who may be willing to assist with your transportation needs.
Not comfortable asking for a ride? Swap a favor. You can invite your neighbor or friend over for dinner, bake cookies, offer to pet sit or water plants, or assist with a project or activity.
The decision to give up driving is not just about you.
How would you feel if, because of your choice to drive unsafely, you injured someone or cost them their life? Think about it. Make the right choice.
Sadie Says … is brought to you by the Lycoming County Health Improvement Coalition’s Safe Communities Task Force.