Hello there once again and happy holidays. This is the time of year when driving with
the holiday crowds can not only be difficult, it can also be scary and dangerous. Therefore, I want to share with you some wonderful driving secrets that can not only make your life easier, they just may save your life and the lives of others as well.
This article is the first of a three part series and is very important. I am going to share with you tips that can help you keep your driving skills for as long as possible. This being said, I enthusiastically recommend drivers education programs for older adults in your area, as articles do not replace these important classes. However before I get to the Wizard’s Twist, let me cover some important ideas.
I am asked regularly by older adults and family members when is the right time to give up driving. Though each of us is different, and only you can make this decision, it happens to everyone. I am going to address this point respectfully within these articles.
What I would like you to consider first is that there are two drivers we are speaking about:
• There’s the you that knows how to drive: This you is conscientious, considerate, knows the laws, has a wonderful record, is a class act, and over all is a fantastic driver.
• Then there is your body: And though it is yours, it slows down as times goes on, it’s on medications, it’s stiffer, and its reflexes are slower.
You will always know how to drive. Your body will not. And it’s important to separate these two “you’s” and keep them separated.
I won’t tell you it’s time to stop driving, I will however give a firm push into the land of logic. Slow reflexes, whether that’s from age, medications, diet, etc. is the same as having a drink or two in your system. If you’ve slowed down, at that reflex level where a half a second of reaction time makes the difference between hitting a child who runs in front of your car or not, then you are taking a chance each time you get in a car and drive. Slow reflexes are same as drunk driving. Therefore it takes a very wise and classy person to say, “I am going to give up driving now because it’s the right thing to do.” And this has nothing to do with your driving knowledge and skills, it is only accepting that the body may not be as fast as you are. Okay, onward to your driving secret.
Safe Driving Secret: The Wizard’s Twist: Turn your Back First, your Head Second.
Fact: Most older adult drivers cannot look over their shoulders to see who is coming.
This exercise can help you turn to see behind you and avoid accidents.
Here’s a simple physiological lesson: If your shoulders are tight when you’re driving, you can’t turn your head around easily, if at all. Second, the neck isn’t designed to do all the work. So how do we look behind us when our shoulders are tight? Turn your back first and your head second.
Try it now while you’re reading this. Let’s twist to the right. Lift up tall, and relax your shoulders and head. Then turn your shoulders to the right first as far as you can, relaxing the head, then look to the right. Lead with the back- back first, head second. This isn’t unlike backing up when we put our right arm on the seat so we can turn around to see- in that case the back twists, and then the head is free to look behind us.
If you lead with your head, the shoulders will tighten up to protect the neck, and you’ll get stuck. Then you’ll be one of those people who put their blinker on and change lanes driving from mirrors and a limited view. One day, you may hurt someone. Don’t panic every time you are in a crowed holiday situation, do the Wizard’s Twist: Turn the Back First, the Head Second.
And remember, you may be out this holiday season with those who really shouldn’t be driving. If someone is moving very slowly and is medicated, please don’t think they’re suddenly going to turn into great drivers behind the wheel. I use this as a joke and it’s really not, but it gets the point across: Friends do not let Friends Drive Medicated!
Thanks for your commitment to life, reading my words, and sharing this! Best Blessings of Health from the Wizard of Youth.
John Paul Ouvrier, known as The Wizard of Youth, is a fitness trainer who specializes in working with older adults. Please consult with your doctor or medical professional before beginning this or any exercise program or advice. The contents of this article do not constitute medical advice. Contact John at John@wizardofyouth.com, and bring him in to entertain your audiences! http://wizardofyouth.com. & http://fitness4charity.org.