Road Safety For Seniors | Tips From Our Senior Care Advisors:
No matter your age, safety is the main concern when driving. As you get older, physical changes occur that may begin to interfere with driving performance. This becomes especially evident in drivers over 70, when the rate of fatal car crashes is shown to increase. Reasons for the spike at this age include slower motor functions, hearing and vision loss, and side effects of medication. The four tips below will help you stay safe on the roads for years to come.
1. Check Ups and Medical Conditions
Elderly drivers should schedule regular vision and hearing check-ups. Your physician can determine if your vision and hearing meet the minimum safety requirements for driving. Drivers who do experience vision or hearing loss must be sure to wear eyeglasses and hearing aids whenever they get behind the wheel. If you have any physical limitations, such as arthritis, consult your doctor to confirm that it’s still safe for you to drive.
Pain and sleep medications, antihistamines, and muscle relaxers can all impact driving performance. – Just because you don’t feel the effects right away doesn’t mean your driving won’t be impaired. Read all labels on both prescription and over the counter medications to determine whether or not they are safe to use when driving.
2. Choose a vehicle that’s easy for you to drive
Automatic transmissions, power steering, and new brakes will take much of the work off the driver. Dashboards with easy to read dials and easy to use features are important for senior drivers. Make sure you can easily maneuver the vehicle in and out of parking spots and on narrow roadways.
3. Stay focused and alert
Unfortunately, the radio is not the only distraction in the car anymore. Leave your cellphone in a pocket, cup holder, or glove compartment so that it is not a distraction while driving. If you need to use the GPS, enter your destination information before putting the car in drive. Drivers should make certain they know their route before leaving. Distracted driving is a leading cause of accidents. Stay focused and pay extra attention while on the road.
4. Test Your Driving Skills
Many community centers or local organizations offer safe driving courses designed especially for seniors. Taking a refresher course could also save you money on your auto insurance. Best practice for senior drivers includes staying up to date on your driving ability.
When driving is no longer safe for you ask for help. Many senior drivers have difficulty admitting it’s no longer safe for them to be behind the wheel. Giving up the car keys in favor or your safety and the safety of other drivers is always the best choice. There are many other transportation options available to you including public transportation for friends, family, or hired caregivers.