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Driving into the sunset

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Millions of senior drivers are on the road. Every day we add to that number as the baby boomers pile into that senior age bracket, along with their valid drivers licenses. Does this pose a potential hazard?

It could, if we aren't aware of a few changes that have occurred over time.

First, our cars that we drive. Smaller, more sleek, and quicker. And gadgets that tend to take our attention off the road ahead. Navigational systems, digital radios, steering wheel selections. Welcome to the 21st Century.

Add to this the ever present cellular phone, and who has time to pay attention to the car in front of you? There's the problem in hand.

Seniors need to take the time to familiarize themselves with their auto's features, before getting on the road. Read the manual in the glove compartment about the features you will be utilizing while driving. Do not attempt to 'figure out' what that press pad is for while driving.

And turn that cell phone off when driving. It could save your life, and those of others.

Secondly, our roads and highways. Too many cars on the road? Add more lanes. Our freeways now have diamond lanes that are meant to reward multiple passenger vehicles during rush hours. Our speed limits have pushed up to 65 mph. On ramps have traffic lights during peak hours. Flashing amber alerts along freeways warn you of traffic conditions ahead.

There are just too many more cars on the roads than when we were just teens waiting for the okay to take our drivers license test. Road rage is now a common malady that afflicts drivers of all ages.

Our highways and roadways are now a hazardous maze to navigate every time we slip behind the wheel.

Finally, for ourselves as seniors, we have changed. Physically, we have changed. Our reflexes may not be as quick, our eyesight not as sharp, and our decisions may not fit the situations on the road.

Individually, we must decide whether we are still safe to drive. Have your eyes checked every two years, be aware of what medications you are on and their side effects. 'May cause drowsiness' is a warning that cannot be ignored when driving an automobile. Do not drink and drive. Period.

Alternate means of transportation down the road becomes inevitable. For some, sooner than later. Or, relocating to more rural areas. You know, those towns with only one traffic light at the main intersection.

Those towns still are out there. We can walk into the sunset.

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