How is Your Physical Fitness?
Diminished strength,
coordination and
flexibility can have
a major impact on
your ability to safely
control your car.
Do you have
these symptoms
of decreased
physical fitness?
You have trouble looking over your shoulder to change lanes or looking left and right to check traffic at intersections.
You have trouble moving your foot from the gas to the brake pedal or turning the steering wheel.
You have fallen down - not counting a trip or stumble - once or more in the previous year.
You walk less than one block per day.
You can't raise your arms above your shoulders.
You feel pain in your knees, legs or ankles when going up or down a flight of ten stairs.
What you can do
With your doctor's approval, do some stretching exercises and start a walking program. Walk around the block or in a mall. Also, check health clubs, YMCAs, senior centers, colleges and hospitals for fitness programs geared to older people.
Get examined by a doctor if you have pain or swelling in your feet. If you have pain or stiffness in your arms, legs or neck, your doctor may prescribe medication and/or physical therapy.
Choose a car with automatic transmission, power steering and power brakes. See an occupational therapist or a certified driving rehabilitation specialist who can prescribe special equipment to make it easier for you to steer your car and operate the foot pedals.
Eliminate your driver's side blind spot by reaiming your side mirror. First, lean your head against the window, then adjust your mirror outward so that when you look at the inside edge you can barely see the side of your car. If you use a wide-angle mirror, get lots of practice judging distances to other cars before using it in traffic.
Keep alert to sounds outside your car. Limit passenger conversation and background noises from the radio and stereo. If you wear a hearing aid, be careful opening car windows, as some people find drafts can impair the aid's effectiveness.
Watch for flashing lights of emergency vehicles. You may not be able to hear the siren at a distance.
Sit at least ten inches from the steering wheel to reduce the chances of an injury from your air bag. Remember to always wear your seatbelt.

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