Driving is a great way to remain independent, but it's normal for our driving abilities to change as we get older. By reducing risk factors and incorporating safe driving practices, many of us can continue driving safely long into our senior years. But we do have to pay attention to any warning signs and make appropriate adjustments. Here are some top tips to help stay safe on the road.
Stay physically active- Physical activity improves your strength and flexibility. This can make it easier to turn the driving wheel, look over your shoulder and make other movements whilst driving or parking.
Get your sight and hearing tested regularly- Impaired hearing can be a concern for older drivers as it limits the ability to hear an approaching emergency vehicle or train. Common age-related vision problems, for example cataracts, can make it difficult to see clearly or drive at night. Ask your doctor how often to schedule vision and hearing tests. Even if you think your hearing and vision are fine, stick to your doctor's recommended exam schedule.
Understand your limitations- Be aware of your limitations and work with them. For example, vehicles that feature larger, easier to read dials may be more suitable if your eye sight is poor. Also, if your hands hurt when gripping the steering wheel you can use a steering wheel cover that makes holding the wheel more comfortable.
Drive in optimal conditions- You can improve driver safety by driving during the daytime, in good weather and in familiar areas. If visibility is poor consider taking public transport.
Plan ahead- Plan your route ahead of time so that you don’t need to read a map for directions whilst driving. Or, if you use a GPS device, enter your destination before you start driving. Whist you’re driving, don’t do anything that takes your focus from the road.
Update your driving skills- Consider taking a refresher course for older drivers. Depending on your policy, this might even earn you a discount on your car insurance.
As we age, our driving abilities will inevitably change. By following safe driving practices like these, you can reduce the risk factors and continue driving safely.
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