A few weeks back, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety released some encouraging news. Today's drivers age 70 and older are less likely to be involved in crashes than previous generations. If they do crash, they are also less likely to be killed or seriously injured. The Institute credits this to safer cars and the fact that Americans are aging healthier.
Like all aspects of our lives, maintaining a healthy mental and physical state is critical to our driving ability. Good news: There are several easy habits all drivers can incorporate to keep that mental and physical health in check behind the wheel. Here are just a few tips to incorporate into your everyday routine:
• Work Out Your Brain: Incorporating brain training exercises, along with variety into your daily routine, can help drivers maintain crucial skills like reaction time, problem solving and memory. A study funded by the National Institute of Health recently found that people who had cognitive training for memory, reasoning or speed of processing had 50 percent fewer car accidents than those in the control group.
• Exercise Daily: We all know exercise is good for us but did you know it could help you be a better driver? Our partners, The Hartford Center for Mature Market Excellence and MIT AgeLab, have found that daily exercise helps improve driving-related movements like turning your head and body to look when backing up and getting in and out of the car.
• Monitor Drug Interactions: Medications interact with each other. The more medications we take, the more likely we are to experience interactions that may influence our driving. This online tool will tell you if and how your medications and supplements interact.
• Keep Up to Date on the Rules of the Road: Traffic laws are constantly changing and vary by state. Brush up before you head out on your next trip with this quiz.
• Get a Good Night's Sleep: Getting adequate rest is a key part of a healthy lifestyle. When you are tired or fatigued, your reaction time slows down. Your judgment and vision may not be as sharp, your attention may wander, and you may have problems with processing information and short-term memory.
To find more free and fun resources on keeping our brains sharp behind the wheel, check out AARP Driver Safety's Driving Resource Center.