The Best Driver Safety Tips for Seniors
As people grow older, they generally begin to experience a slight decline in basic motor skills and situational awareness caused by poorer eyesight or reduced hearing.
When applied to driving on the road, this could result in unsafe situations that put yourself and others at risk.
As a senior driver, it’s vital to practice driver safety and refresh yourself on the rules, regulations, and behaviors related to safe driving. Not only will this help to keep you safe behind the wheel, but it will also allow you to improve your independence by keeping you on the road for longer.
Here are some useful driving safety tips for seniors.
Staying physically and mentally active can significantly improve strength flexibility, motor skills, and spatial awareness, all of which are necessary skills to possess when driving.
Keeping physically active helps you maintain the strength you need to steer the wheel, perform over-the-shoulder checks and other movements required when driving, turning, and parking.
To improve physical fitness, senior drivers are encouraged to get at least 30 minutes of moderate exercise daily. This can include walking, swimming, gardening, or any other activity that enables movement.
When it comes to mental fitness, performing daily exercises such as puzzles, reading, knitting, and being creative can help boost motor skills, which will help you make quick decisions and judgments while on the road.
Schedule Health Check-Ups Regularly
As hearing and vision tend to decline as people age, seniors should schedule regular health check-ups. Marc Shuman, a car accident lawyer at Shuman Legal, explains, “Driving requires good eyesight to monitor and respond to any road hazards (particularly at night), as well as the ability to hear any emergency vehicles, trains, and motorcycles approaching.”
Ask your doctor for an eye exam and hearing test, then stick to your given check-up schedule to ensure that you are driving under safe health conditions. A specialist can then inform you if you need to make any adjustments to your driving, such as avoiding driving at night or correcting poor vision with glasses.
Most health conditions can affect fitness to drive at any age, yet when people get older, these changes can become more difficult to notice, which is why regular check-ups are vital to ensuring your safety on the road.
Be Aware of Your Limitations
If you are aware of anything that may prohibit your safety on the road, it’s wise to correct or manage these limitations. For example, if you find that your hands or joints begin to ache after a while spent behind the wheel, look to reduce the hours you spend driving or pull over at a rest stop to stretch.
If you know that you aren’t confident driving in wet weather, then try to avoid getting behind the wheel in these conditions. Instead, book a taxi or ask a friend or family member to take you.
Beyond weather conditions, make sure that you are in optimal health and in a good state of mind when you drive.
For example, avoid getting behind the wheel when you’re angry, upset, or tired. Understand what your limitations are and make adjustments where needed. Doing so can save your life and the lives of others while on the road.
Use Technology to Drive More Safely
New technologies are helping to keep seniors on the road for longer and driving more safely. If you’re an older driver, you may want to invest in these applications to help you drive and increase your confidence on the road.
Some driver safety apps for seniors include:
- GPS/navigation systems
- Parking apps to help locate your car in a supermarket
- Reversing cameras to assist you when backing out of a driveway or performing a parallel park
- And blind-spot warning systems to alert you of vehicles in your blind spot
Some apps even have automatic parking assist, which can be installed into your car to help you park in any parking space with a push of a button.
Driver safety for seniors includes monitoring health and fitness and being aware of behaviors or conditions that may limit a person’s ability to be safe on the road. It’s vital seniors schedule a medical check-up, have constant vision and hearing tests, and maintain their strength and flexibility to drive comfortably.
In some circumstances, seniors can engage in new technologies to further assist them with driver safety and increase driver confidence. As people grow older, it’s also recommended to refresh on necessary driver skills and regulations regularly.
Seniors are encouraged to visit their local driver safety center to pick up a pamphlet or book a driving course to keep their driving skills up-to-date. Use these safe driving tips for seniors to keep you and others safe while on the road.
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