Saturday, 22 September 2018

Road-safety for Senior Citizens

Hebrew: בטיחות בדרכים לקשישים

 

trafficligtIsraeli drivers are known to drive fast, take chances and even be a bit reckless. Anashim Be'Adom is an organization that promotes road safety amongst Israel's senior citizens.  Be'Adom recommend and suggest the following road safety measures for seniors:

  • Cross the road at designated pedestrian crossings.
  • Do not take a chance and cross when the pedestrian light is red. 
  • Before you cross at the pedestrian crossing, don't forget to look in both directions. Even though there is a pedestrian crossing it is no assurance against speeding cars and careless drivers.
  • Distractions!  Speaking on a mobile phone, or similar, can distract your attention when crossing a road.  Please refrain from talking or texting (sending messages on your mobile phone) while crossing the road.
  • If you are behind the wheel, take your medical limitations or conditions* into consideration.  Wear your glasses if necessary.
  • Stopping your vehicle, or standing and waiting on the "shoulders" of the road can be very dangerous. Israeli drivers sometimes try to beat the traffic and use the shoulders as an extra lane.  Naturally they are driving beyond the speed limit when they exercise this maneuver.
  • If you are on the sidewalk, please keep a safe distance from the edge of the road.
  • If there is no pavement or sidewalk, and you are forced to walk on the shoulder, keep to the left so that you are facing oncoming traffic.
  • Whether driving or walking, be extra careful at dusk when ease of visibility is lessened. 
  • Wear clothes that are brighter in color so that you can be seen easily.
  • Be extra careful when crossing the road with your young grandchildren who are depending on you to get across safely.

Anashim B'Adom list the following as medical conditions that might impact your driving ability

  • Impaired  vision: long distance, short distance and peripheral
  • A shortened concentration span
  • Impaired hearing
  • Slower reaction time

Converting your license in Israel

New olim are required to convert their license to an Israeli one, within the first year of their Aliyah. In practice, this means you have to do the practical driving test again.  Should you fail the test twice, you will be required to take lessons and do your license from scratch.  A couple of lessons and the test can cost around 1,000 shekels. Re-doing your license will cost in the region of 3,000 - 4,000 shekels. Consider this financial aspect.  Is it worth it for an older person to convert their license when Israel's public transport is efficient?  While it is important to maintain a sense of independence and control, your safety is paramount. Buses, trains, sheruts and taxis can take you wherever you need to go.  If you are willing and physically able, consider using public transport instead. Local buses are equipped with a hydraulic step which the bus driver can lower when you enter or alight the bus.  Inter city buses however, do not have such a step. Taxi drivers are patient too and will help you, if you ask, to get out of the car.

 

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