Safe Driving Tips For Seniors
It’s no secret that, as we age, our reflexes and physical abilities start to decline. Many seniors face a decline in hearing, vision, or cognitive function due to Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, or other health problems. All of this can negatively impact their ability to drive a motor vehicle.
However, the impact of aging varies among individuals, as does the ability to safely operate a motor vehicle. When it comes to driving as a senior, there are three key factors to consider: vision, hearing, and response time. It’s crucial to consult with your doctor about any potential impact of your medications on your driving ability, as certain medications can impair judgment and reflexes, often overlooked.
To ensure your safety on the road, here are some simple tips to follow:
Maintain good vision
Regularly have your eyes checked and keep your prescription up to date if you wear corrective lenses. Additionally, keep your mirrors clean, change wiper blades frequently, adjust the brightness of your control panel, and use the defrost function when your windows start to fog.
Address hearing concerns
If hearing becomes an issue, consult with your doctor and consider using hearing aids if necessary. Minimize audible distractions, such as loud music, to enhance your ability to hear horns and emergency vehicles approaching.
Accommodate limited mobility
Take advantage of the increasing number of physical aid devices available. Consult your doctor or an occupational therapist to explore options or modifications to your vehicle that can make driving easier while improving your effectiveness on the road.
Choose a suitable vehicle
Modern cars offer various features that cater to individual needs. Look for options like power windows, a backup camera, and blindspot detection, as well as seats that can memorize your preferred driving position.
Plan your trips wisely
Before setting out, plan your route carefully and consider alternate paths. If you’re uncertain about directions, call for assistance. Technology-savvy individuals can rely on Global Positioning Devices (GPS) for convenient trip planning. Simply enter your destination, and it will provide step-by-step instructions to guide you.
Maintain a safe following distance
Avoid tailgating other vehicles, especially at high speeds. Allow ample space between your car and the one in front to ensure you have enough time to react if traffic suddenly stops. This approach enables you to handle various situations safely and effectively.
Be considerate on high-speed roads
If you prefer a leisurely pace, stay in the right lane to allow faster drivers to pass. Being mindful of other drivers promotes a harmonious driving environment.
Enroll in a Defensive Driver program
Consider joining a Defensive Driver program. These courses have a high success rate in boosting confidence, offering safety tips, and potentially reducing your auto insurance rates. Not only are they educational, but they can also be enjoyable experiences.
By adhering to these guidelines, you can prioritize your safety and well-being while enjoying the independence that driving provides.
Another hazard for senior motorists is drug-induced side effects. Seniors often take multiple prescriptions to manage health issues, but their interactions can cause dizziness, confusion, and vision issues, which can significantly impede their ability to drive.
Concerned About An Older Driver?
Are you concerned about an aging relative or close friend behind the wheel? It can be tough for them to accept their driving is no longer secure. Consider monitoring their driving ability. If it’s not possible to observe the older person driving, look out for these signs:
- Multiple vehicle crashes, “near misses,” and/or new dents in the car
- Two or more traffic tickets or warnings within the last 2 years
- Comments from neighbors or friends about driving
- Anxiety or inability to drive at night
- Health issues
Having “The Talk” About Driving
Talking with a senior loved one about his or her driving is often difficult. Here are some things that might help when having the talk.
- Avoid confrontation. Use “I” messages rather than “You” messages.
- Stick to the issue. Focus on the driver’s skills rather than his or her age.
- Be positive and supportive.
Recognize the importance of a driver’s license to the older person. Understand that he or she may become defensive, angry, hurt, or withdrawn. You might say, “I understand that this may be upsetting” or “We’ll work together to find a solution.” This type of language will allow the person to feel “heard” and more understood.
Individuals who are aged 70 years or older at the time of their driver’s license expiration must renew their license in person, unless instructed otherwise by DMV. This process entails taking knowledge and vision tests, and if unsuccessful, a temporary driver’s license may be issued.
DMV typically sends a renewal notice to the address on file roughly 60 days before expiration, but if this is not received, individuals can complete a Driver License or Identification Card Application online or at a DMV office. Additional information and sample tests can be found at dmv.ca.gov/driver-ed.
Welcome Health In-Home Care
Welcome Health understands the difficulties associated with transportation and have devised a primary care model to assist both you and your loved ones. Our physicians visit you in the convenience of your own home, saving you time and eliminating the need to commute to a doctor’s office.
Welcome Health provides home-based primary care to older people in Los Angeles through house calls and virtual visits. Visit welcomehealth.org to learn how healthcare that specializes in aging can jumpstart your journey towards a happier, healthier life. Welcome Health accepts original Medicare and some Medicare Advantage plans.
We want to make it easy for you and your family to stay informed with the latest news. You can join your loved ones appointments through video conference or in person beside them at any time! Download our free information packet for more specific information on Welcome Health!