Seniors want to keep driving as long as possible. It helps them to stay independent. If you have driven for most of your life, the thought of having your license taken away because of your age is one of many senior’s biggest fears. But age can bring physical and mental changes that can make driving difficult or maybe impossible. Night vision is one of the first things to go, followed by response time. Each individual is different. Sometimes, there are ways to compensate for losses. Staying safe behind the wheel is the first priority.
What can seniors do to ensure that they are safe drivers?
- Make regular appointments with your optometrist or ophthalmologist. They can ensure that you are wearing the proper eyeglasses and check for other problems such as cataracts or glaucoma. Also have your hearing tested. Many older adults aren’t aware that they are gradually losing their hearing.
- If you are taking medication, check that is it safe to drive at the same time. Many over the counter and prescription medicines can make you tired and/or dizzy. Don’t drive while you are taking them. Also ensure that you have someone to pick you up after any outpatient surgeries.
- When driving in inclement weather, slow down. Keep your distance from other vehicles so you have time to stop quickly if the need arises. Make sure all of your windows are kept clean and free of snow. Check your rear view mirror often. Keep your eyes moving so you know what’s going on around you. Many of us live in rural areas where wildlife can suddenly dart into traffic. Early morning and dusk are the busiest times for wildlife. If you live in an area with moose, late fall is the busiest time of year for moose crossings.
Keep yourself in good health, both physically and mentally. Speak with your healthcare provider regarding any health problems that may affect your ability to drive. To read more on safe driving as a senior, click here.