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Ways to keep aging baby boomer drivers safe on the road

Updated: May 31, 2018

It’s hard for some to believe, but baby boomers are aging! There are about 10,000 of them turning 65 each day. True to their reputation, they are not content to stay at home and sit still. Most still drive and intend to keep on driving for as long as possible. So the uncomfortable, yet inevitable question arises: how, can we keep aging baby boomers safe on the road?

AARP has identified the most frequent driving errors in this age group. They include sharing the road with bicyclists and motorcyclists, speeding, running red lights, failure to stop at stop signs, driving in the wrong lane, and improper left-hand turns.

AARP’s baby boom driver safety tips

AARP has published tips to keep older drivers safe. Most deal with understanding the physical changes that go along with aging, so it is important to know your physical capacity and limitations.

  1. Monitor your health. Be aware of any health changes such as vision, hearing, memory and concentration. Keep up with regular checkups and exercise.

  2. Keep a safe driving distance. Use the three-second rule when following another car, so you have time to react to any potential hazards. (The three-second rule: watch the vehicle in front of you pass a fixed object like a road sign or building, and then count the time it takes for you to reach that object. If you’re closer than 3 seconds, back or slightly to reach a three-second following distance.)

  3. Avoid distractions. Anything that takes your eyes off the road is a distraction and that includes cell phone use, eating, using a GPS, and adjusting the radio.

  4. Keep your car in good running condition. Make sure to get regular maintenance for your car. This includes oil changes, tire rotations, brake checks, and more.

  5. Self-regulate. Avoiddriving during rush hour, at night, or in challenging weather conditions. Keep running your errands and appointments, but try to choose daylight and less busy times to travel.

  6. Go right. Instead of making a left-hand turn, make three right turns instead to get to the same place instead of crossing traffic in a busy intersection.

  7. Don’t forget to stop. At stop signs, scan before proceeding and look for pavement markings. If you are behind another car, wait two seconds untilthey proceed through the sign before you move forward.

  8. Check your meds. Ask your doctor or pharmacist if medications you are taking could affect your driving.

  9. Be aware of others. Bikes, motorcycles, and pedestrians can add more challenges to driving. Be extra vigilant in intersections and when merging.

  10. Keep a buffer. Have enough space around your vehicle so you have room to maneuver whether it is on the road or in a parking lot.

In their effort to keep older drivers good and competent drivers, AARP has a driving resource center with videos on the top car technologies, state-by-state driving laws, interactive tools, and more.

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