Driving Tips for Senior Drivers

senior drivers, veteran vehicle, retirees

Whether you have elderly parents or are getting up there in age yourself, it’s vital that senior drivers evaluate their habits behind the wheel, as well as their health, for the safety of everyone on the road. Driving tips designed specifically with elderly motorists in mind go a long way in providing peace of mind and making elderly individuals feel confident in their ability to keep driving.

Work With a Physician

Aging motorists who are still able to drive themselves to their doctor’s appointments should ask if they have any health concerns or complications that may make it hard for them to operate a motor vehicle. Joint pain can make it hard to maneuver a steering wheel and use mirrors while behind the wheel. Motorists who don’t have as much energy as they used to may be better off limiting themselves to short trips, and the stress of traffic and certain driving conditions can make existing health conditions worse.

Acknowledge and Respect Limitations

Senior drivers and those who plan to get a car before retirement have to acknowledge the fact that they aren’t as young and physically capable as they once were. There comes a point where reaction times start to slow, vision starts to go bad and driving becomes a hassle. For that reason, elderly motorists who notice they don’t drive as well as they used to should increase their braking distance, brake earlier when approaching red lights and stop signs, and avoid driving in high-traffic areas even more than they did when they were younger.

Have Your Hearing and Vision Regularly Checked    

Speaking of limitations, senior motorists should keep up with their vision and hearing tests to determine whether they still have the eyesight and hearing capabilities necessary to be safe drivers. Those who have already been diagnosed with vision or hearing complications should be sure they always have their contacts, glasses, hearing aids and the like with them when they drive. Those with poor hearing should keep noise, music, and conversation inside the car to a minimum so they can hear emergency vehicles, other automobiles and car horns.

Read Medication Labels

Senior citizens who are on medication and also drive should give their labels a thorough read through to ensure they can operate a motor vehicle while taking their prescription. Taking this a step further, even if the label doesn’t specifically mention any restrictions on driving, elderly individuals should closely monitor their condition while behind the wheel and alert their physicians if they feel the medication could be compromising their ability to drive.

Consider Taking a Senior Driving Course

After driving for several decades, one can start to neglect some of the basics of good driving. It’s a great idea for elderly motorists to enroll in a senior driving course for a refresher, and so they can have someone evaluate their driving ability to let them know if they can keep driving. Just as there are new distractions for drivers, there may be new driving rules or trends that older motorists aren’t aware of but need to be if they’re going to keep driving.

There are more alternatives than ever for those who don’t own a car, can’t drive or shouldn’t drive. Even if they can still operate a vehicle now, senior drivers should start looking into transportation alternatives to make a smooth transition from driver to passenger and pedestrian. 

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