September 21 2018
Though road signs and basic traffic laws haven’t changed very much, older drivers might find that personal factors can affect their ability to drive. As an active adult, you might not be ready to give up the keys, but there are certain age-related issues that can impair your ability to stay on the road safely, such as:
• Hearing and vision loss
• Medical conditions (dementia, sleep disorders, high and low blood pressure)
• Medications (pain reducers, anti-depressants)
• Motor function (stiffening joints, weak muscles)
• Cognition (memory, visual processing, judgment)
This doesn’t mean that every senior citizen must stop driving. It simply means that they must stay diligent in keeping themselves, and other drivers, safe at all costs.
Consider the following these six tips to help you stay on the road as long as possible.
1) Continue to be an active adult. Stretching, walking, and strength training will keep you flexible enough to turn the wheel, look over your shoulder, and hit the brakes quickly.
2) Screen vision and hearing regularly. These senses can decline with age. Talk to your doctor about regular check-ups to make sure that your eyes and ears are staying sharp.
3) Make adjustments as needed. If you’ve been driving a 5-speed manual vehicle for years, it might be time to switch to an automatic transmission. You might prefer a smaller car that can be easier to navigate. Or, consider a vehicle with added safety features.
4) Avoid intense driving situations. Don’t drive when traffic is at its peak, stay home during adverse weather conditions, and try to avoid driving at night.
5) Take a safety course. Many places offer courses for seniors who are active adult drivers. These courses can help you update your skills, and even give you a discount on your insurance.
6) Take advantage of free transportation. If you live in a retirement community, try taking the complimentary transportation services. Or, let a friend give you a lift. Reduce your driving time and get a ride when you can.