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The Top 7 Safety Suggestions for Senior Drivers

by Stephen Thomas on July 16, 2013

Safety Tips for Senior Drivers

There’s no getting around the fact that we are all getting older. With age often comes maturity, wisdom, and a wealth of experience. However, it also means the body is now subject to symptoms of degeneration. Everyone ages at their own pace and in their own way. And there is no absolute time where we become incapable of driving safely. However, we must be aware of the common effects of aging and how they may be effecting us behind the wheel. There are many safe driving tips for seniors to stay mentally and physically able well into the golden years.

1. Stay Physically Fit

Good senior safety driving requires a series of coordinated physical maneuvers which are learned through repetition and muscle memory. Getting older can be hard on the body. Stiff joints, muscle pain, and deteriorated strength can make it more difficult to turn the steering wheel responsively or hit the right pedal on sudden notice. Try to participate in light amounts of cardiovascular exercise and gentle exertion by taking up active hobbies or going to the gym. It doesn’t take a lot to keep the body running at full capacity.

2. Stay Mentally Sharp

Most young people take their mental acuity for granted, but seniors know what it’s like to suddenly have trouble remembering important information or thinking clearly. We’ve all had moments where we start to forget how to get to places we’ve driven to a hundred times before. The mind has to be exercised just like the body. Keep your brain active by reading new books, playing new games, meeting new people, going new places, or anything to keep yourself fresh. A mental lapse on the road could lead to serious consequences.

3. Keep Your Senses in Check

Your senses, particularly vision and hearing, are your windows to the world. With old age come poor eyes and ears, so get regular checkups to make sure yours still function well enough to drive. If you need glasses, never drive without them. Proper nutrition can go a long way toward keeping your senses in good working order, and always make sure you take any medications prescribed by your doctor.

4. Avoid Driving at Night

Far more accidents occur at night than during the day. The roads are dark, drunk drivers may be out, and people just seem to be more careless. Unless you are totally confident in your eyesight and ability to drive well under these conditions, it’s best to let someone else drive after dark.

5. Drive Defensively

It’s all too common these days for drivers to act aggressively and carelessly on the road. They think they are invincible. They listen to blaring music, talk on cell phones, chat with passengers, and generally disregard their own safety. As you get older, your reaction time and awareness go down, so it becomes even more hazardous to drive without caution. Always play it on the safe side. Drive slower if you need to. Take safer, less traffic-laden routes. Increase your following distance. And give others the right of way when needed.

6. Pick a Car That Suits You

Many modern cars can have excessive and confusing features and dashboards. If you have no need for these toys and gadgets, it’s best just to go without them. You don’t want to forget what button or knob does what in your car, or have a parking brake in a hard-to-reach location. Simple is the way to go.

7. Listen to the Advice of Others

Our opinions of ourselves are always biased. You might not be a fair judge of your driving abilities like you used to be. If friends, family, or professionals tell you they are concerned about your driving, it’s best to take their advice seriously. Consider enrolling in a mature driver course as a refresher on the principles of safe driving and for loads of useful information about the changes that come with age.

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