How to Be a Safe Elderly Driver

It is possible to be an older adult and still drive safely, but it is important to drive only according to your ability to do so. To do otherwise could endanger yourself and others. Here are some tips on safe driving for older adults.

Steps

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    Avoid driving during conditions that make driving difficult. As much as possible, time your trips so that both the trip out and the return trip happen during daylight hours. Avoid driving in darkness and at dawn or dusk.
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    Also avoid wet weather, rain, snow, or fog. These conditions reduce visibility, and slippery roads require extra response time and judgment.
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    Reduce the number, duration, and frequency of your trips.
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    Drive in places and on routes you know well.
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    Avoid driving alone. Having another person in the car can help to keep you alert to hazards and conditions.
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    Avoid freeways, rush hour, and other busy or difficult driving situations.
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    Remove distractions while driving. Focus on driving, and driving safely.
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    Have your eyes checked regularly and keep your glasses prescription correct and current. Have separate glasses for driving, if you need them, and wear them whenever you drive.
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    Try to drive close to the speed limit, and the speed of traffic. Don't go too much above or below it.
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    Be aware of your surroundings, traffic, and others on the road.
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    Keep your vehicle in good repair.
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    Check your medications and prescriptions and ask your doctor or pharmacist if anything you are taking might make you drowsy or make it unsafe for you to drive.

Tips

  • Notice and heed any difficulties you have while driving. If you start having any accidents or "close calls," it might be time to rethink whether or how much you should continue to drive. It might also be time to stop driving or cut back if you have difficulty seeing, turning to see, staying in your lane, maintaining a consistent speed, or focusing on your driving.
  • Find out if there are classes in your area for senior drivers. Some automobile insurance companies even offer discounts for mature drivers who have taken a class about defensive driving or safe senior driving.
  • If you don't feel like you can drive safely at a certain time or under certain conditions, don't drive. Arrange an alternative, or plan your trip for a different time.
  • Listen to others who ride with you if they say they are concerned about your driving abilities.
  • If you can no longer be a safe driver, consider using the bus, a ride with other people, or a transportation service for the elderly.

Warnings

  • If you are required to stop driving, or if it is not safe for you to continue, stop driving. Do not put yourself and others at risk for an accident.

Article Info

Categories: Defensive Driving Skills & Safety | Healthy Aging and Senior Lifestyle