Drive Safely Into The Golden Years

senior couple driving a motor homeDriver safety is an important and often sensitive issue for seniors. While good driving is a total-body experience, involving motor coordination as well as the senses, regular checkups is the key to staying safe behind the wheel. Stay safe on the road by taking care of your health and incorporating safe driving practices. The most important and positive action you can take is to decrease the driving risks associated with aging:

Visual decline
Get eyes checked every year and make sure that corrective lenses are current. Keep the windshield, mirrors, and headlights clean, and turn brightness up on the instrument panel on your dashboard.

Hearing loss
Have hearing checked annually. If hearing aids are prescribed, make sure they are worn while driving

Limited mobility and increased reaction time
An occupational therapist or a certified driving rehabilitation specialist can prescribe equipment to make it easier to steer the car and to operate the foot pedals.

Talk with a doctor about the effects of medications you are taking on driving ability.

Sleeping well is essential to driving well. If there are problems, try to improve nighttime sleep conditions and talk with a doctor about the effect of any sleep medications on driving.

Dementia and brain impairment
If there are any signs of dementia or brain impairment, limit driving and consult a doctor.

Elderly drivers do have one advantage: experience. All those years behind the wheel are an invaluable tool when it comes to making sound driving decisions. Older drivers buckle up more frequently — and use cell phones and drive intoxicated far less — than people under 50, according to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration polls and other sources. Still, it’s up to the older driver to identify his or her limits and develop a suitable safe-driving plan.

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