Growing older happens to all of us, and with it comes changes to our strength, coordination, and flexibility. These changes can be gradual and unnoticeable, until one day you struggle to move your foot from the gas pedal to the brake. Realizing that you may no longer be at your full capacity as a driver can be worrying, but it does not necessarily mean that you have to give up your car keys. Here driving tips for senior drivers, you will have to take certain precautions and keep in mind the following tips.
1. Choose a Car That Works for You
Advances in the modern era have allowed us to design cars that make driving easier. If possible, choose a car with automatic transmission, easy-to-read systems on the dashboard, power steering, power brakes, or even a car with autonomous safety features. In addition, keep your vehicle clean (windows, mirrors, headlights) and well-maintained. For example, if your hands hurt when gripping the steering wheel, use a steering wheel cover that makes holding and turning the wheel more comfortable.
2. Get Annual Vision and Hearing Tests
Good vision and hearing are important for safe driving, but they tend to decline with age. Senior drivers may have difficulty hearing approaching vehicles, or be unable to see clearly during the night. To understand the state of your vision and hearing, schedule tests with your doctor in order to get a professional evaluation, as well as recommendations on how to accommodate any problems.
3. Stay Active and Physically Fit
Driving can be taxing on the body, and senior drivers may struggle with performing even the most basic maneuvers, such as looking over the shoulder, moving the foot from the brake to the gas pedal, or vice versa, and turning the steering wheel. Exercise is an important aspect of a healthy lifestyle, and its benefits also extend to driving, allowing you to keep your strength and flexibility in top shape.
4. Remove Any Distractions
While this tip applies to all drivers, it is especially pertinent for senior drivers. As we get older, our reaction times slow down and our ability to focus on several stimuli at once diminishes. Remove distractions like your phone or snacks and ask passengers to keep the chatter to a minimum in order to focus fully on the road.
5. Drive in Good Conditions
“Good conditions” does not only apply to the weather and the road — it also applies to you. You can lessen the risk of accidents by driving on quiet roads and familiar areas in good weather, but you should also ensure that you feel fit to drive. Do not drive after drinking, while tired, while emotional, or after taking medication that can cause drowsiness or dizziness.
Conclusion: Understand Your Limitations
There is no set age limit for driving, but that doesn’t mean you can keep driving forever. If your loved ones have expressed concerns about your ability to drive or if you yourself have realized that your driving has become unsafe, it may be time to move out of the driver’s seat. Being a passenger doesn’t have to mean the loss of your independence — it means that you value the safety of yourself and others on the road.