Safety Tips for Older Drivers – How to Best Prevent a Car Accident as You Get Older
Although most people will deny it, as you get older your driving skills diminish. Whether it’s your physical condition or mental acuity, even the slightest change can mean the difference between being able to avoid an accident, or causing one. Still, there are a number of things older drivers can do to remain safe on the road. Here are some tips to consider.
Keep Your Senses Sharp
As we age, the first thing you’ll likely notice is a change in your vision or hearing, or both. Common age-related conditions such as cataracts, macular degeneration and glaucoma can impair your driving, as these conditions can affect your ability to see clearly, especially at night. Similarly, hearing loss is also, unfortunately, a common problem for older drivers. Any loss in hearing may impair your ability to hear warnings from other drivers, or even emergency vehicles approaching.
As you grow older, it’s important to have your vision and hearing tested regularly. Most conditions today can be treated. Catching these and other problems early will ensure that your senses are as sharp as possible to reduce the risk of a car accident.
Stay Fit and Active
When driving, we not only need our senses working properly, but also our bodies. Driving requires movement. As we age, our bodies naturally start to break down, and conditions such as arthritis can set in. Staying physically active can help maintain your strength and flexibility. This can make it easier to do the things required when driving, such as steering and looking over your shoulder.
Manage Your Health
Not only should you stay fit and active as you age, but it’s also important to manage any chronic health problems you may have. For example, high blood pressure can lead to stroke or heart attack, both of which occur without much, if any, warning. Managing chronic conditions with your doctor can help reduce the chance of something happening while driving.
Equally important is managing any medications you may be taking. Many drugs have side effects and can affect your ability to drive. Making sure that you are taking the proper dosage of medication, and knowing when and how to take medication can also help reduce your chance of being in a car accident.
Be Aware of Your Limitations
Nobody likes to admit when they have limitations. This is especially true as we get older, as it’s hard to accept the fact that you may not be able to do something as good (or at all) as you used to. For example, driving at night is a common limitation for older drivers. However, having such a limitation does not mean that you have to give up driving altogether. It just means that you need to be aware of your limitation, and make adjustments accordingly. Adjustments can be made for most age-related limitations. The key to reducing the likelihood of a car accident is to recognize and accept your limitation, before it becomes a liability.
Practice Defensive Driving
Like many Florida drivers, you may be used to driving aggressively. However, as we age, our reaction time naturally slows down. To avoid a car accident, it’s important to be alert with no distractions, and to always give yourself enough space between your car and others to break and stop.
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