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      Seniors learn the importance of keeping eyes on the road

      With tailgating, busy intersections, and the use of cell phones, officials are calling the open road a warzone. And seniors, in particular, need to be careful.

      "As we get older, eyesight tends to play a part in that. It's our peripheral vision, stopping time, those types of things, and we tend to get distracted more easily I think," says Triad Chairman Lolita Barry.

      MGH EMT Gary Gustafson presented to Triad about how our minds can only really do one thing at a time, and when we're on the road, it should be driving.

      "When it comes to driving, as soon as you start to focus on something other than driving, the attention then goes to what your distraction is, and then, of course, your attention to driving is down," says Gustafson.

      He says staying focused while driving can be hard for anyone, but seniors have physical constraints working against them.

      "Older people tend to speed, so we try to say you should back off, don't tailgate people, give three to four car lengths. They don't look in the rear view mirror or get mirrors correctly; being able to look out that blind spot sometimes is a problem," Gustafson adds.

      What doesn't help is that our roads are a more dangerous place than they used to be with the increased use of technology. In 2009, nearly a thousand people in Michigan died in cell phone-related crashes.

      And even though we can't control what other motorists do, we can control our own attention.

      Gary's tips before getting behind the wheel? Get a good night's sleep, eat before you leave, pre-set radio stations or a CD, and last but not least, pull over to use the phone.