Seven Safe Driving Tips for Seniors
Seven Safe Driving Tips
For anyone who’s been driving for years, the process is second nature. You get in your car, buckle up, and head to your destination. If the weather is poor, you’ll likely go more slowly and pay more attention to the road conditions. However, if you stop to think about it, driving requires many skills, all working in tandem. You must be fully alert, have good vision and hearing, be physically flexible, and have quick physical and cognitive reflexes. Getting older doesn’t automatically mean your driving skills are diminishing; however, you should consider how age-related factors and health conditions are impacting your driving abilities.
Consider these seven safe driving tips to be at your best behind the wheel.
- Stay Physically Active. Physical activity improves and promotes flexibility, allowing you better mobility in everyday life, including driving. For example, with increased flexibility, you can turn your head more easily to check your blind spots when changing lanes or exiting your parked car.
- Schedule Regular Vision and Hearing Tests. Common age-related vision problems can make it more challenging to see, and driving with them can be dangerous. Not being able to hear clearly can also make for compromised driving conditions because you cannot react as quickly to ambulance sirens. Have your vision and hearing tested regularly. Many people find night driving challenging to aging eyes; consider making different travel plans if this describes you.
- Manage Your Medications. Some prescription drugs can result in drowsiness or dizziness, side effects that make driving dangerous. If you are unsure of the side effects of your current medications, be sure to consult your doctor or pharmacist.
- Don’t Drive When Impaired. According to the most recent New Jersey State Police report that analyzed fatal collisions in 2021, intoxicated drivers buzzed on alcohol and drugs are the leading cause of fatal traffic crashes in the state.
- Don’t Be a Distracted Driver. Put your cell phone out of reach while driving so you’re not tempted to text and drive. Keep your music at a reasonable volume to hear sirens and horns. Be careful when consuming hot beverages, and wait until you’re parked to eat.
- Drive When the Roads are Safe. Roads can get dangerous quickly, especially in unfavorable weather conditions like snow or heavy rain. Additionally, driving at night can lower your visibility. A good rule of thumb is that if you hesitate to drive in such conditions, wait until the roads are safe.
- Update Your Driving Skills. Refresher courses are an excellent option for older drivers because it tests your reflexes, knowledge, and overall motorist capabilities. Look for an AARP Smart Driver™ Course near you.
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