Sadie Says …

Answers to frequently asked questions about older adult issues

Q: I am planning to attend an older driver safety course, but in the meantime, can you offer any tips for safe driving after age 50?

A: An older driver safety course offers a wealth of safe driving information. In the meantime, consider these tips:

1. Avoid turning left.

AARP states — “Left turns are one of the most dangerous situations for drivers, and for older drivers in particular. 25 percent of traffic violations result from improper left turns, and left-turn situations have some of the highest crash rates for older adults.”

In fact, making a left turn is 20 times more dangerous than turning right. In city streets, avoid turning left by driving to the next intersection, and making three right turns.

Another strategy is to seek an intersection having a green left-turn arrow that protects drivers making left turns so long as that arrow is green. At all other times, drivers turning left at such a signal must yield to oncoming traffic.

2. Drive only when you are emotionally and physically fit to do so.

This rule applies to all drivers and especially to people over 50 who may take multiple medications or suffer from illnesses or sensory (hearing and vision) loss. Medication side effects, especially when in combination with other medicines, may impair driving as can even small amounts of alcohol or other recreational drugs.

Lastly, monitor your emotions and fatigue level to protect against road rage or falling asleep at the wheel.

3. Always buckle up — both you and all your vehicle occupants. It’s your best protection against drinking, drowsy or distracted drivers.

“Sadie Says” is brought to you by the Lycoming County Health Improvement Coalition.

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