THE GREAT HANG UP: Senior Drivers Guard Against Distractions

5:17 PM, Nov 29, 2011   |    comments
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After decades of driving, Bobby Temple is investing in a refresher course. He says times have changed since he first learned to drive.

"There's a lot more distraction out there right now because of all the phones. Now people are going down in their seats, looking around and changing diapers and all kinds of stuff, texting, so I think you really have to be careful."

He says with so many distractions like the use of cellphones and texting, he wanted to make sure he had the tools to continue to be a safe driver.

"I think it's a great thing to do and it's important that all of us try to remember all the things that we knew when we first started at 16 when we took the test."

Temple signed up himself and his mother for a safety driving course at the Macon Bibb Senior Center conducted by AARP instructor John Abbott.

"We train senior citizens to be able to drive longer by keeping their mobility and independence," said Abbott.

Abbott says he teaches strategies to help drivers overcome challenges on the road. Texting and talking on the phone while driving he says is a major temptation for many people.

"In just a moment you can have a crash and someone can be killed. If you're texting, you're concentrating on that typing and your focus is on it rather than the driving.

It's very important that no matter what age people are, that they are aware of the dangers of distraction for anything," said Abbott.

He says even if you don't drive while distracted, others do, so it's important to watch out for them when you're on the road. A lesson that Temple says he already practices.

"That's why it's so important to scan so much. A lot of people don't do that. They look straight ahead, they don't scan," said Temple.

As far as talking and texting on your phone while behind the wheel, Abbott says the only time you should do so is if you're parked and in a safe place.

"The best thing to do is to stop, take care of the situation and then get back to driving," said Abbott.

Driving classes at the Senior Center are open to all ages. The cost is $12 for AARP members. If you're not a member, the cost is $14.

For more information call 478-751-2790.

We want you to join the Great Hang Up and put down the phone before you start up your car.

Look for the pledge under the "features" tab on our homepage.

You can find the link to sign the pledge on the right side of the page.

After you sign the pledge, we want to hear from you.

We share your stories during our Great Hang Up day on the last Tuesday of each month.

Just send an email to to let us know you're interested in sharing your experience.

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