5 Safe Driving Tips for Seniors
Healthy Aging | 10/24/18
Seniors are safe drivers compared to other age groups. This is because they’re more likely to wear seat belts, avoid driving under the influence, and follow speed limits. Unfortunately, seniors are more likely to be in traffic accidents due to age-related health concerns, like worsening vision.
Stay Safe on the Road With These Senior Driving Tips
Everyone on the road should focus on safe driving practices, but seniors will want to take even more care as they age. Here are some senior driving best practices.
- Look for and recognize changes.
As we age, vision, reaction time, and confidence behind the wheel can change. If driving makes you nervous or overwhelmed or if your loved ones are worried about you driving, it’s time to have a heart-to-heart with yourself, your loved ones, and your doctor (see step two below).
- Schedule a check-up with your primary care physician.
If you have any questions about your driving skills, talk to your doctor about your health and how it impacts driving. Should you have vision and hearing tests? Some age-related vision problems make it more difficult to see at night, and hearing problems can make it difficult to hear emergency vehicles approaching. Plus, other conditions like arthritis, cataracts, diabetes, macular degeneration, and seizures make it more challenging to drive safely.
- Be aware of how medications affect vehicle operation.
If you take prescription medications, talk to your doctor or pharmacist or read the label to make sure you understand how the medication may affect your driving. Medications that cause drowsiness or lightheadedness are especially dangerous when behind the wheel. Avoid driving if your medicines cause such reactions.
- Take a Mature Driving Course.
Many local motor vehicle departments offer Mature Driving Courses (or something similar) for seniors who want to freshen up their skills. The tips and information taught in these classes are geared towards the age-related challenges and experiences of older people. They may cover topics like changing lanes, tips to minimize blind spots, the effects of medicine on mind, body, and driving, and more.
- Avoid driving during inclement weather.
One of the safest things you can do is stay off the road during hazardous conditions. If you know a storm is coming, try to get where you need to go before or after the storm. Even driving during rain can be dangerous. Also, avoid construction or high traffic areas whenever you can. These areas can be stressful to drive through, so you might as well avoid them whenever possible.
- Pinpoint potential driving problems and change them.
Invite a loved one to assess your driving skills one day. Take note of any concerns, and ask your loved one for their honest assessment. Maybe they spotted something you never noticed. Now is the best time to fix problems and become a safer driver, especially if you’re driving grandchildren around or you’re on the road often.
Seniors are some of the safest drivers on the road, but also the most at-risk for car accidents. Don’t become a statistic. Practice safe driving habits and revamp your driving mentality to follow your age.
Practicing safe driving habits is a great way to maintain your independence. Learn more about other ways to stay independent at a continuing care retirement community. For more information on The Atrium at Navesink Harbor or any of the services we offer, contact us today.