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AARP Idaho's Tips for Safer Summer Driving

AARP Idaho offers low-cost classes to prepare older drivers, and others who want to brush up on safe-driving tips, for summer. (Warren Goldswain/iStockphoto)
AARP Idaho offers low-cost classes to prepare older drivers, and others who want to brush up on safe-driving tips, for summer. (Warren Goldswain/iStockphoto)
June 7, 2016

BOISE, Idaho - The summer driving season has begun and AARP Idaho has some helpful tips for older drivers that will also work for anyone behind the wheel.

Before setting off on vacation, the first thing is to make sure the vehicle, including the air conditioning, is in working order, to prevent a hot-weather breakdown.

Bill Robison, driving instructor for AARP Idaho, says it's also important to bring extra water, and plan your route so you can pull off the road and relax every so often.

"The older drivers need to have a break about every one or two hours, just to stay refreshed and alert while they're driving," says Robison. "Fatigue can be a problem with the heat, because you just get drowsy and all of a sudden you're off the road and have a really serious crash."

Another good tip - keep the gas tank at least half to one-quarter full at all times to avoid being stranded, and keep a map in the car even if you know the route.

Older drivers who want a quick refresher course on driving skills can sign up for a low-cost, six-hour AARP "Smart Driver" course, which is offered three times a month.

Some insurance companies give discounts for taking the course.

Roger Wheeler, state coordinator for AARP's Driver Safety program, says people should be extra careful during the occasional summer rainstorm.

"People think since it's not snow, that it's not slick," says Wheeler. "But roads that have been dry for quite a while get very slick because of the residue from oil and fumes, and things like that on the pavement."

Wheeler adds, since older drivers' vision and reaction time may be diminished, it's important to make sure that mirrors are correctly adjusted.

They should also scan the road constantly for sudden distractions that are more common in the summer, such as people on bikes or a child running into the street.

Suzanne Potter, Public News Service - ID