Ask Mr. Pedometer and Friends…

August 7, 2019

Q:  Mr. Pedometer, instead of plane, boat, or train, I will be traveling by automobile this summer.  Any suggestions for making it a safer trip?     

A: The August edition of Consumer Reports on Health (CR.org/health) has some good suggestions for you to help you have a safe trip:

  • OPTIMIZE YOUR RIDE –

    “A 2017 AAA study found that about 9 out of 10 older drivers Classic Car for World Walk to Wellness Blog on Safe Trip don’t make any modifications to their cars that could make driving easier.  These can include handles and grips that can help with getting into and out of the vehicle, convex or multifaceted mirrors that make seeing blind spots easier, or steering wheel covers that make gripping the wheel less painful if you have arthritis in your hands.”

  • GIVE YOUR CAR A CHECK-UP –

    “Performing a thorough check of your car’s functions can help avoid delays or hazardous situations while you’re on the road.  Check the levels of the oil, coolant, brake, and windshield washer fluids. Check for any wear and tear, cracks, weak spots, or hardened glassy surfaces on hoses and belts; replace any that are damaged.  Make sure the battery terminals and cables are firmly attached, and look through the radiator grill to ensure it’s clear of any obstructions.  Check the pressure in the tires, and add air if needed.  For more pre-trip tips, go to CR.org/roadtripprep.”

  • TAKE REGULAR BREAKS –

    “Older adults are at a higher risk for blood clots, and sitting in a confined space – such as your car – for more than 4 hours can increase your risk of developing a clot in your legs, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.  So split up your sitting:  Be sure to take breaks and get up and walk around every few hours, the agency recommends.  Plus, if you are getting drowsy, a break is a good opportunity to take a quick nap, switch drivers, grab a cup of coffee – or all of the above.”

  • BRING A FIRST-AID KIT –

    “A complete first-aid kit should include bandages (clean wounds thoroughly before dressing); anti-histamines for allergies; over-the-counter pain relievers; anti-diarrheal remedies…; antacids; lubricating eye drops; and a thermometer.  And don’t forget to pack insect repellent, sunscreen, tweezers for tick removal, and hand sanitizer.”

  • PACK FOR HEALTH – “Make sure you have enough of all your medications to last you through your whole trip, plus a few days extra in case of any delays, says the CDC.  Ask your insurer for a ‘vacation override” if you need to refill your meds early before you leave.  Be sure to bring along an insurance card, your health-care provider’s contact info, and a list of your medications and dosages.”

  • KEEP SNACKS SAFE – “Keep any perishable snacks (such as cheese or cut fruit) in a cooler; wrap or package meat items separately, and fill in any extra space with ice or cold packs. Store non-perishable items like nuts or dried fruits elsewhere so that you need to limit how many times you need to open the cooler.”

I hope these ideas will help you have a safe and happy road trip!  Take walks wherever your destination.

EAT RIGHT, MOVE MORE, AND SLEEP WELL TO BE WELL.