Between making sure you are aware of others, yourself and hazards on the road, driving can be a dangerous task, and as we get older, the dangers and risks of accidents happening increases due to our slower reflexes and reaction time. Below are a few tips to help you stay as safe as you can on the road.
Making a left turn across oncoming traffic. When it comes to making these types of turns, it’s always best to wait until the green arrow shows before turning. But if you can’t wait, Bill Van Tassel, the AAA manager of Driver Training Programs, suggests going further up the road and making three right turns (forming almost a box) to get you going in the right direction. Although this can take longer, it’s a safer solution.
Making a left turn into traffic. Similar to turning into oncoming traffic, Van Tassel explains that driving up the road a bit and making a U-turn is a safer solution.
Merging onto the highway. Accidents happen because drivers sometimes merge onto the highway too slowly. Instead, use the on ramp to increase up your speed and merge over when you can.
Using the right-turn only lane. Always be aware of the traffic coming from the left and turn only when feeling safe and there is enough of a gap in between traffic.
Using traffic circles or roundabouts. Using a roundabout can be confusing if you do not encounter them a lot. Van Tassel says to treat them like a right turn. If it’s clear on the left (like you would be making a right turn), then go forward using the roundabout. The good thing about roundabouts is that if you happen to miss your turn, you can just go around again!
Exiting a car parked on the side of the road. Parking on the side of the road can be dangerous because of the potential of walking into oncoming traffic or hitting a pedestrian or biker when opening the car door. A good tip to avoid these hazards is to use open the door with the hand that’s furthest away from the door of the one closest to the door. That way your head will already be turned in the direction of the door and you can look out the window and side mirror to gauge when it’s safest to get out.
Keep your medicines in mind. Sometimes certain medicines will impair driving abilities. It’s best to know the side effects of your medications and AAA offers a free service called Road Wise Rx where you can type in the medication(s) you are taking and it will tell you if it will impair your driving or not.
Make sure to get your hearing and vision tested regularly. Not being able to hear horns/sirens or see the road clearly is dangerous when driving. Making sure you have the right assistance for your hearing and vision will allow you to stay safe on the road.
Take a defensive driving course. It’s never a bad idea to freshen up on the rules of the road. Both AAA and AARP offer a driving course that can be offered online or in a classroom.
Understand your car’s technology. Newer cars have back up cameras, blind spot warnings and built-in GPS', but sometimes people decline to turn on those options if they might know how to use them. These techonologies were made to help keep you safe on the road, just make sure you don't only rely on them.