Driving can sometimes be challenging for older adults. Follow these safety tips for older drivers, from taking good care of yourself to planning ahead and updating your skills.
As you get older, you’ll likely notice physical changes that can make certain actions, such as turning your head to look for oncoming traffic or braking safety, more challenging. Consider these seven tips for older drivers:
Stay physically active: It improves your strength and flexibility making it easier to turn the steering wheel, look over your shoulder and other movements while driving and parking.
Schedule regular vision and hearing tests: Some senses, such as hearing and vision, tend to decline with age. Impaired hearing can be a concern for older drivers. Ask your doctor how often to schedule these tests and whether or not you should drive only in daylight hours.
Work with your doctor on chronic conditions such as diabetes or seizures. Know your medications that can affect driver safety even when you’re feeling fine. Read the labels so you know what to expect.
Consider your physical limitations. Make any necessary adjustments such as if your hands hurt when gripping the wheel, use a steering wheel cover.
Drive when the roads and you are in good condition. Don’t drive when you’re tired or angry and never drive after drinking alcohol.
Stash your cellphone and focus on the road. Driving while distracted is a frequent cause of accidents.
Update your driving skills. Consider taking a refresher course for older drivers. If you become confused while you’re driving or you’re concerned about your ability to drive safely or others have expressed concern, it might be best to stop driving. Consider taking a bus, van service, hiring a driver or other local options. Consider giving up your car keys a way to keep yourself and others safe on the road.
Portions of this article were contributed by The Mayo Clinic for the Elderly.