Although you’ve likely been driving most of your adult life, it often becomes more challenging as you grow older. Your body moves differently. Your vision or hearing may change. Your reflexes might not be as quick as they used to be. This doesn’t mean you have to give up driving completely. It does mean you might need to take a few extra precautions when you’re behind the wheel of a car.
In honor of Older Driver Awareness Week, we are sharing steps you can take to stay safer while driving.
Driving Safety Tips for Older Americans
1. Stay Active and Fit
Physical activity can help you maintain the strength, balance, and reflexes necessary for safe driving. Regular exercise can give you the flexibility you need to turn the steering wheel, glance over your shoulder, and other necessary movements for driving and parking.
2. Check Your Hearing and Vision
For most people, vision and hearing decline with age. Regular hearing and vision tests will ensure you are still safe driving. Poor vision can be a danger to you and other drivers.
Even if you already have glasses or a hearing aid, having regular exams can ensure you have the proper prescription.
3. Understand Your Medication Side Effects
If you are taking any prescription or over-the-counter medications or supplements, be sure you understand how each one can impact your driving abilities, as well as how the medications interact with each other. Prescriptions that make driving risky are usually labeled, so it’s important to pay attention to the labels.
4. Know Your Limitations
When you were younger, you may have been able to drive several hours on a long highway with no problem. However, driving abilities are likely to change as you grow older. Know your limitations and don’t exceed them. If you get tired after an hour of driving, it’s better to pull over and rest rather than trying to reach your destination sooner.
There are additional steps you can take to make driving more comfortable. This can help you stay safe behind the wheel for longer periods of time. A cushioned steering wheel cover might make it easier to grab and turn the wheel. A small cushion may help your posture and make the trip more enjoyable. Think about your physical limitations while driving, and what adjustments you need to make.
5. Avoid Driving in Poor Conditions
Driving in heavy rain or dense fog (especially at night) can be tough for anyone, but that is especially true for older adults. You might find it necessary to restrict yourself to driving only during good weather and to limit driving to daylight hours to reduce your risk for an accident or injury.
6. Other Driving Concerns for Seniors
Finally, there are several smaller concerns that can add up to be trouble if you aren’t careful. Limit your distractions, such as loud music or talking on a cell phone, while driving. Stick to roads you’re familiar with. It might also help to avoid roadways known for heavy traffic, or areas that become congested at certain times of day.
Transportation is Included at Five Star
At Five Star Senior Living, we care about the safety of all our residents. For those in assisted living, we offer transportation services to make it easier and safer to get to appointments and tend to errands. If you’d like to learn more about our transportation program, contact the Five Star Senior Living community nearest you today.