Older Drivers and 7 Tips for Staying Safe on the Road

Blog Category: Lifestyle

Older drivers face more obstacles behind the wheel as they age. As you reach your senior years or surpass them, you’ll likely notice physical changes that can make certain aspects of driving more difficult. However, there are several ways to stay safe while you drive as a senior.

Tips for Older Drivers

Staying Physically Active

Staying physically active enhances your balance and flexibility. Additionally, physical activity can improve your safety while driving as well because it’s easier for you to turn the steering wheel, change lanes, and perform other movements while driving. Not to mention, your reaction time is also improved with fitness.

Look for opportunities to be physically active daily. Walking is a great choice for many seniors as it is low impact and requires no special equipment. 

Get Your Vision and Hearing Checked Regularly

As you age, your hearing and vision tend to become less acute. Impaired hearing can be a concern for older drivers because it may limit the ability to hear emergency vehicles. Other common conditions like cataracts or glaucoma can affect your vision.

Ask your doctor about how often you should schedule hearing and vision tests to stay safe behind the wheel. The earlier you catch a problem, the more likely you are to be able to fix it.

Manage Medications

There are many prescription drugs that affect your ability to drive safely. Be sure to read your medications carefully and know what to expect when you take them.

Be sure to avoid driving if you have taken medication that can cause drowsiness or dizziness until you know how it will affect you.

Accept Your Limitations

When it comes to driving, you should take your physical limitations into consideration. If your hands hurt while gripping the wheel, try using a wheel cover that will make holding the wheel more comfortable. Also, be sure to pick a car that has easy-to-read dials on the dashboard.

Drive Under Ideal Circumstances

This means both the weather and yourself should be in good condition while driving. In addition to driving during the day in good weather, be sure not to drive angry, tired, or when you are in pain.

Never drive under the influence of alcohol or other mind-altering substances, even if they are prescribed for medical use.

Limit Distractions While Driving

Being distracted while driving is a common cause of accidents. Be sure to focus on the road when behind the wheel. This might mean stashing your cellphone somewhere where it won’t interfere with your driving.

Don’t do anything that removes your attention from the road while driving.

Keep Your Skills Sharp

If you think your skills may be getting dull, consider taking a refresher course for older drivers. Going through these steps may even earn you a discount on your insurance.

If you have become confused while behind the wheel, or others have expressed concern about your driving, it may be time to stop. It’s not just about keeping yourself safe, but also the safety of others on the road.

Warning Signs Your Driving May Be Unsafe

Sometimes, you may not notice that your driving is becoming unsafe because the signs can gradually sneak up on you over time. Some signs your driving may be unsafe are:

  • Frequent close calls
  • Increased citations
  • Eye problems
  • Ear problems
  • Trouble with the fundamentals of driving (like switching lanes or keeping up with traffic)
  • Memory lapses that could result in getting lost
  • Issues with reflexes

What if It’s Time to Stop Driving?

Realize this is not the end of your independence and there are alternatives to getting around on your own. Many people feel ashamed, however, it takes a lot of courage and resolve to stop driving and put safety first. You may actually find that there are some benefits to living without a car. These benefits include:

  • Saving money on gas, insurance, and repairs
  • Never having to deal with parking
  • Walking is good for your health

Naturally, the more alternative options to driving you have, the more benefits you will find. If you live in an area where taking the bus or walking is an option, you may find the process of getting from point A to point B to be less stressful and you’ll have more time to do other things you enjoy. Many people read on the bus or discover new businesses in their neighborhoods while walking. The adjustment to going carless doesn’t have to be a shameful or stressful one. 

Want to learn more tips and tricks about aging well? Here is your FREE A-Z guide on Living and Aging the Way You Want. Click the icon and get your copy today!

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