7 Safety Tips for Elderly Drivers
As you age, it is important that you can still conduct the parts of your daily routine safely, including driving. Here are seven safety tips for elderly drivers:
Many don’t see driving as a physical activity, but it is, especially in situations where a quick reaction is needed. Staying physically active will help improve your strength and flexibility, so you are better able to do things like turning the steering wheel quickly, looking over your shoulder and other such movements.
The easiest way to accomplish this is to include physical activity as part of your daily routine, like walking or stretching. Remember, check with your doctor before increasing activity levels.
Check your vision and hearing
Vision and hearing are the two senses critical to driving and, unfortunately, they’re also the ones that are most likely to decline with age. Check with your doctor to set up a schedule for regular reviews of your vision and hearing. Even if you aren’t experiencing any issues with your hearing or vision while driving, like decreased night-time vision or trouble hearing approaching vehicles, still stick to the schedule. This helps you detect and address problems in their early stages.
Manage chronic conditions
Chronic conditions, like diabetes or heart disease, may impact your ability to operate a vehicle. Many people with these types of conditions drive, but do so safely after consulting a doctor.
Similarly, it is important to know what types of medications you are taking and how that might affect your ability to drive. A good rule of thumb is to not drive while on medication that causes drowsiness or dizziness. Check with your doctor or pharmacist so you know what side effects to expect.
Adjust to your limitations
If you have any physical limitations, it is important to make any necessary adjustments while driving. For example, if the steering wheel is too thin to grip comfortably, you can purchase a cover to make it easier to hold or you can see an occupational therapist for assistance.
You might also want to consider the car itself, and see if there are any others on the market that might fit your needs and capabilities better.
Drive in good conditions
Check the weather before going for a drive. If the conditions are bad and visibility is low, it’s best to stay in or take public transportation. Ideally, stick to daytime driving in good weather.
There are other conditions to consider other than those on the road. If you are tired or upset, you should also avoid driving. And, as always, don’t drink and drive.
Before you head out, plan out your trip. If you use a GPS, enter the destination before you start driving. Also, while driving, don’t do anything that may take your eyes off the road, like eating, using a phone or changing the radio station.
Update your skills
Drivers education isn’t just for those getting their license. Many communities or organizations offer programs that serve adults. Check with your local department of motor vehicles or your insurance company for suggestions.
No matter how safe you think you are, accidents do happen. In those cases, contacting a personal injury attorney can help you handle the situation.