Taking the Keys Away

At some point in time you will feel the concern or even the fear that your parents or elderly friends should no longer drive a vehicle. For anyone, this can be a very difficult and emotional experience. Knowing when its the right time to take away the keys requires important deliberations, considerations and possible actions that you the caregiver will have to face.

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The first thing you should know is that a person’s age is not and shouldn’t be the reason for taking away their car keys. There are people in their 80s and 90s who have their licenses and drive actively and safely, while there are others in their 50s and 60s who are dangers to themselves and others when behind the wheel. The physical and mental conditions and the persons abilities are the first factors you need to consider. Driving takes dexterity and strength in both arms and legs/feet to be able to control the vehicle at all times. If your physical ability is off then the whole driving performance will be off too, which can cause an accident.

The second thing you need to consider is if the driver is on any medications or if they have any diseases. Alzheimer’s disease is very common and the driver can become disoriented almost anywhere and severe diabetics may fall into a coma at anytime. Along with these diseases, prescription medications can produce specific changes or functions within the body. Some reactions may be drowsiness and possibly slowing down person’s reaction time, which may effect a person’s ability to drive.

If you aren’t sure how to determine if its time to take away your parents keys, do a ride along with them. Taking a ride with your parent is the best way to observe his or her physical abilities in controlling the vehicle, staying within the lane, how they handle turns, the driving speed, and for any possible confusions in traffic. Make sure that your observations are done without nagging them on or causing a distraction for them. Lastly, be sure that when you finally decide that its time, that you are respectful and understanding when speaking with the driver. This can always be an emotional time for them, so being honest and providing them comfort will help make this experience a lot less stressful.

 

Teen Driver Safety Week

shutterstock_270635069National Teen Driver Safety Week is recognized each year during October.  Designated by Congress to raise awareness of teen driver safety topics and to encourage safe teen driver and passenger behavior when driving on the road, the program is now in its 10th year!

Research done by the American Automobile Association (AAA) shows that even though there has been a decrease in vehicle crashes, teen drivers still continue to have the highest crash rate. One of the major factors that increases the risk of a crash is impaired driving. This doesn’t only include alcohol or drug use, but this can also be caused by a distraction, fatigue, and strong emotions. Another major factor is the use of cell phones while on the road. Taking your eyes off the road for one second to check a text message, or to change the music playing can be a matter of life and death.

Teens (driving or not) understand that they are vulnerable and they are well aware of the many risks that affect safety both on and off the roads. It’s our job to make sure that they understand the importance of keeping their eyes on the road at all times and that following the law is a must when it comes to driving. Make sure you take part in Teen Driver Safety Week by spreading the word about #drivingsafety and other tips to help teens more aware of the risks they can face on and off the roads.

Drive Safely Work Week

dswwlogoDrive Safely Work Week is an annual campaign sponsored by the Network of Employers for Traffic Safety (NETS).  Each year this campaign aims to improve the safety of employees, families, and the community by preventing traffic crashes that occur both on and off the job. Drive Safely Work Week  is recognized nationally each year during the first full week of October, making this year’s campaign October 2-6.

Here are some tips to help you take part in Drive Safely Work Week:

Always be aware of what other drivers around you are doing. Not only does this safety tip apply for Drive Safely Work Week, but it applies for everyday driving and you should always expect the unexpected. Assume that the other motorists around you will do something crazy, and that way you will always be prepared to avoid it.

Keep a 2-second cushion between you and the car in front of you, that way you can be prepared to stop at a safe distance at any time.  If the weather happens to be bad, you should turn the 2 seconds into 4 seconds so you have extra time. Be sure that you always drive at the speed suitable to the conditions. The speed should allow you to stop well within the distance that you see to be clear.

According to the NETS, in 2010 there were nearly 5000 organizations that participated in Drive Safely Work Week. The campaign reached an estimated 20 million employees that participated in some way, shape or form. In order to continue this successful campaign, help spread the word about Drive Safely Work Week and take every precaution necessary to help prevent accidents.  Take the pledge to Drive Safe.

Is Your Child in the Right Seat?

Picture Source: http://www.trafficsafetymarketing.gov/cps

Picture Source: http://www.trafficsafetymarketing.gov/cps

Every 33 seconds, a child under the age of 13 is involved in a motor vehicle crash, making them the leading cause of death for children ages 1 to 13. After hearing that statistic, you’d certainly take every precaution necessary to ensure the safety of the passengers in your car.  On Saturday, September 23rd,  you’ll have that opportunity during National Car Seat Check Saturday.

These deaths and injuries can always be prevented by proper use of car seats, boosters, and seat belts.  Here is what you need to know to help you and  your passengers stay safe on the road at all times.

All children ages 12 and under should ride properly buckled up in the back seat of all motor vehicles at all times. Children should stay in booster seats until they are big enough to fit in a seat belt properly. For a seat belt to fit properly, both for children and adults the lap belt must lie across the thighs, never the stomach. The shoulder belt should lie snug across the shoulder and chest, and never across the neck or face. Once children have reached the proper height and weight to use a seat belt, remember that for the best protection they should remain in the back seat until age 12.

For all children 2 and under, they should always ride in a rear-facing car seat that is placed in the back seat of the vehicle. A rear-facing car seat should never be  in the front seat or in front of an airbag. Airbags can kill young children riding in the front seat, if they are not the proper height, weight and age. Keeping a child in a rear-facing car seat is best until they reach the maximum height or weight limit allowed for that particular car seat. Once they outgrow a rear-facing car seat, your child is now ready to travel in a forward-facing car seat with a harness. Roughly around ages 4-7, the child will outgrow the forward-facing car seat, and move to a booster seat, which is still placed in the back seat of the vehicle.