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7 Tips for Elderly Drivers to Avoid a Car Crash
The safety of all drivers on the roadway is more than understanding traffic laws and procedures. Elderly drivers are likely to notice physical changes that can lead to car accidents if not addressed properly. Still, elderly drivers can remain safe on the road and avoid being involved in a car crash. The following are seven tips for elderly drivers to stay safe and avoid a car crash.
1. Understand Your Limitations
No one understands you, like you. Consider your physical limitations and make any necessary adjustments for driving. For instance, if your hands hurt when gripping the steering wheel, cover the steering wheel to make handling it more comfortable.
In addition, drive a vehicle with some safety features that could make driving easier for you. For example, newer model vehicles that feature lane change safety, blind spot visibility, backup cameras, etc.
2. Regularly Schedule Vision and Hearing Tests
Vision and hearing are essential senses for safe driving. These senses tend to decline with age. By regularly scheduling vision and hearing tests, you are keeping you and others on the road safe from being involved in a car crash. Ask your doctor how often to schedule vision and hearing tests. Even if you think your hearing and vision are fine, stick to your doctor’s recommendations. A small problem is easier to correct if caught early.
3. Continue to be Physically Active
Staying physically active will improve your strength and flexibility. Thus, physical activity can improve elderly drivers’ abilities to stay safe on the road. For example, being able to look over your shoulder, turn the steering wheel, and make other movements while driving and parking.
4. Drive Only in Good Conditions
When the weather is bad or you are not feeling up to par, stay home. It is also a good idea for elderly drivers to drive only during the daytime, on quiet roads, and in familiar areas. If visibility is poor, consider using public transportation or delaying your trip.
5. Avoid Distractions
Distracted driving is a common cause of car accidents for all ages of drivers. Take steps to stay focused on the road and free from all distractions. For instance, plan your route before getting in the car so you don’t need to look at a GPS device, cellphone or a map.
6. Manage Any Chronic Conditions
Visiting the doctor regularly to manage any chronic conditions – especially those that might impact your ability to drive such as diabetes or seizures. Follow your doctor’s instructions and keep up with any medications. If you’ve taken any medications that cause drowsiness or dizziness, avoid driving.
7. Refresh Your Driving Skills
Consider taking a refresher driving course for elderly drivers. Updating your driving skills can help you understand new rules of the road and keep you and others safe on the road. You may look for driving courses through a community education program or local organization that serves older adults.
If you’ve had some close calls or others have addressed concerns about your ability to drive safely, it may be time to stop driving. You may consider taking public transportation, hiring a driver or using a van service. Giving up your ability to drive does not need to end your independence. Instead, consider it a way to keep you and others safe on the road.
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