Driving is something so many of us enjoy, but take for granted. It provides us with mobility, independence and freedom. Of course, safety is of utmost concern for all, especially for senior drivers. As of 2018, the CDC indicates that one in five drivers in the U.S. is over the age of 65.
The good news is that statistics show that senior drivers are often better drivers for a number of reasons. They’re less likely to speed and less likely to drive under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Many seniors can drive into their 80’s, provided physical issues don’t limit them from driving safely.
As we age, what are the things to consider when driving? We’ll explore some tips for seniors who want to keep it moving:
8 Safety Tips for Senior Drivers
Discuss your medications with your healthcare professional
Four out of five older adults take medication on a daily basis. Medications can impact judgement, reflexes and focus, even if you “feel fine”. Checking the labels of your meds and discussing your medications with the doctor or pharmacist in relation to how it may affect your driving is the safest for everyone.
Always wear your seat belt
It goes without saying that everyone in the car should have their seat belt securely fastened at all times. Buckle up even prior to starting the car. If you find the seat belt digs into your shoulder, shop for a padded seat belt cover, like this one.
Have regular vision tests and keep your glasses prescription current
Yearly visits to the eye doctor and maintaining a current prescription for your glasses will help you to be sure that you’re seeing everything on the road.
Choose when to drive
No one should be driving when they aren’t feeling their best. Some people (not just seniors) choose not to drive in the rain or other conditions that make them uncomfortable. Even younger drivers can feel uncomfortable or not be at their sharpest when driving at night. Planning appointments, social visits and errands during the daylight will alleviate concerns over night driving. Take all these factors into consideration when choosing when to drive.
Choose how to drive
Mapping out your route is smart when things like heavy traffic, highways, merging and speed limit come into play. Planning to take a route that has less traffic and better speed control is a good choice.
Ever see someone turn the music down in their car when they’re lost? Distractions like music in the background or cell phones can cause a lapse in reaction time. Focusing solely on the road and your path is the safest way to arrive at your destination.
Maintain your vehicle
A safe car is one that has been maintained, has gas, washer fluid, safe brakes and all the other things a licensed mechanic can check for you.
Decide if driving yourself to a particular location is the best choice
Being a driver doesn’t mean always driving. Taking into account the above items, the length of the drive and your overall health, perhaps it’s a safer choice to utilize public transportation, Uber / Lyft, or taking a cab.
Read more in depth information on senior driver safety tips from the Health in Aging Foundation here.
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Do you have questions about how you can better support your loved one while they age in place in South Florida? Please contact CareGivers of America here: Contact or call us toll free: 800-342-4197
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