As we age, our reaction speed, coordination, and physical strength tend to decrease, making driving more difficult and potentially risky. In fact, studies have shown that older drivers receive more tickets and get into more accidents than younger drivers. That’s not to say seniors can’t drive well, but those who do would be smart to take some extra precautions.
1. Get Eyes Checked Annually
Make sure that your lens prescriptions are correct and current, so you can see the road clearly.
2. Get Hearing Checked Annually
If the doctor prescribes a hearing aid, be sure to use it whenever you drive. Also, if you like to drive with the windows down, be aware that drafts can impair a hearing aid’s effectiveness.
3. Keep Your Vehicle in Good Condition
Make sure that your car’s tires, brakes, and lights are in good condition, so that you’re visible to other cars and can brake quickly if you need to.
4. Check Your Medications
Check your medications and discuss them with your doctor to make sure none of them will make you drowsy or otherwise unsafe to drive.
5. Get Plenty of Rest
An episode of Mythbusters confirmed that driving sleepy can be even more dangerous than drinking and driving. Always get plenty of rest before you drive.
6. Drive Defensively
Defensive driving is an important and potentially life-saving skill for drivers of any age. Leave plenty of space between you and the car in front. Drive appropriate to the flow of traffic around you. Pay extra attention at intersections. And of course, do not drive distracted.
7. Drive in Favorable Conditions
As you get older it’s a good idea to be a bit pickier about when and where you drive. Avoid driving at night and in bad weather conditions.
8. Listen to Those Around You
If your doctor or loved ones are concerned about your driving ability, listen to them. Many communities offer safety courses for senior drivers to brush up on their skills. And, at some point in your life, you may need to stop driving altogether. Just know yourself and know your abilities, so you can make safe choices when it comes to driving.