Physical changes can make older drivers a danger on the road, therefore there are precautions people can take to remain safe on the road even as they grow older.
Stay active physically
- If you remain active, you will continue to improve in strength and flexibility. While it may not seem to correlate with driving, physical shape is a big factor in driving. Look for ways to incorporate physical activity into your daily routine. You will be able to turn the steering wheel and look over your shoulder with more ease. Walking is a good option, along with stretching.
Regular vision and hearing tests
- Senses are very important in order to be a safe driver on the road. Unfortunately, senses do decline as people age. The limitations of hearing can be a handicap on the road because you will be unable to hear emergency vehicles or trains that may be approaching you. Vision speaks for its self. Cataracts, glaucoma and macular degeneration can make it very difficult to see well at night.
- Consult with your doctor. He/she will let you know how often you should be seen to do the standardized hearing and vision tests. Problems may be easier to fix if they are caught early.
Management of chronic conditions
- Chronic conditions can affect your driving significantly. Diabetes or seizures can definitely be a hazard to drivers, therefore consulting a doctor to manage your conditions is very important in order to determine your wellbeing on the road.
- Medical conditions are commonly associated with medicine and a lot of medicine puts restrictions on driving. Again, this is something to consult with your doctor about.
Be aware of your limitations
- Make adjustments if you are not comfortable or confident in your driving skills. For example, if your hands hurt when you grip your steering wheel – get a steering wheel cover. If your vehicle is too large – get a smaller, more accommodating car. In fact, your doctor can recommend you to an occupational therapist that can offer assistive device to help you drive.
Drive in calm conditions
- Driving in the day time, in good weather, on quiet roads and in areas that you are familiar with, is the safest way to prevent accidents. Plan your route and avoid rush-hour times of the day.
Don’t do anything that causes you distraction
- Don’t talk on the phone, read a map, or eat – Anything that takes your attention off driving.
Improve your driving skills
- There are refresher courses that are available for older drivers. In fact, if you attend these courses, you may get a discount on your car insurance. These courses can be found at community education programs or at local organizations that assist older adults.
As you get older, you may be in denial of your changes. But if you become confused or concerned about your driving safety, it is not something to put off. In order to keep you safe and other drivers safe, follow the recommendations to ensure safety.