Physical changes in vision or motor skills can make driving a bit more difficult for older adults. However, there are ways to stay safe on the road and avoid a personal injury to themselves and others. Consider the information below to help you or your loved one improve their driving experience and reduce their chances of being involved in a car accident.
Safety tips for elderly drivers:
- Schedule regular hearing and vision tests. Hearing and vision tend to decline with age, which can make it difficult to clearly see signs and signals or hear an oncoming emergency vehicle. It is important to schedule regular hearing and vision checkups to identify and correct any problems.
- Stay physically active. Regular physical activity improves flexibility and strength, which can make it easier to do things like looking over your shoulder, turning the steering wheel, and making other movements behind the wheel. It is a good idea to incorporate exercise into your daily routine, such as walking or stretching.
- Manage any chronic conditions. If you have any chronic conditions, be sure to follow your doctor’s instructions to keep them under control. If you are taking any medications, make sure you read the warning labels so that you are aware of any potential side effects that could impact your ability to drive, such as drowsiness or dizziness.
- Refresh your driving skills. It may be a good idea to take a driving course geared toward older adults in order to refresh your driving skills. This option may even earn you a discount on your auto insurance.
- Know your limitations. Consider any physical limitations that you have and make necessary adjustments. For example, if you notice that your hands hurt when you grip the steering wheel, consider a steering wheel cover that makes it more comfortable to hold, or schedule a visit with an occupational therapist. Don’t overlook your limitations – look for ways to overcome them. If you become concerned about your ability to safely drive, it may be time to consider other transportation options. This shouldn’t be seen as a loss of independence, but as a way to keep yourself and others safe on the road.
Kelley/Uustal represents car accident victims throughout the state of Florida.