Driving Safety Tips for Seniors

Despite the benefits of driving a car, from freedom to convenience, seniors must always be aware of the risks associated with getting behind the wheel. While you may be able to drive to and from your senior living facility, as you age your reflexes may slow down and your vision may blur or weaken – just a few examples of how the dangers of driving may increase.

Here are some tips for staying safe on the roads.

Stay Within Your Comfort Zone 

It’s important that you stay within your comfort zone when driving. That means different things for different people. For example, if you’re a senior who has difficulty with night vision, then it’s best to limit your driving activities to the daytime. Or if you’re experiencing physical limitations such as a weak grip or stiff joints, then you need to be aware of how your condition will affect your ability to drive. 

If you’re not sure what your limits are, consult your doctor and take an assessment to help you determine what may be too risky for you. 

Know Your Vehicle 

To ensure that you’re driving safely as a senior, it’s prudent to familiarize yourself with the features of your vehicle.  

Know how to use all the safety features, such as seatbelts, airbags, and anti-lock brakes. Also, if you’re driving a manual transmission car, practice shifting into different gears until you can do it smoothly and confidently. You should also read your vehicle’s owner’s manual before hitting the roads. 

Avoid Distractions 

Distracted driving can be hazardous at any age, but as a senior, it’s even more important to stay focused. Don’t use your cell phone while driving and avoid eating and drinking behind the wheel. Adjust the radio or other devices before you start your car so you’re not fiddling with them while driving. 

You also want to limit the number of passengers in your car, as they can be a distraction. On the other hand, if possible, have a friend or family member ride with you on long trips to help share the driving responsibilities and navigate for you. 

Make Use of Adaptive Technology 

There are many adaptive devices and technologies available to aid you in driving safely. 

For example, devices such as hand-control pedals can help those with mobility issues operate their vehicles. Other technologies, such as rearview cameras, are designed to give drivers a better view of the road behind them to reduce blind spots. There are even advanced voice-activated GPS systems available that take some of the stress out of navigating in unfamiliar areas. 

Plan Ahead 

When you are heading out on the road, have a plan. Map out your route and double-check for any potential hazards or detours that may be on your path such as heavy rain or a construction site. 

Make sure to leave plenty of time for your journey so that you don’t have to rush and feel stressed. Finally, always be prepared: have an emergency kit in your car at all times. 

By following these driving safety tips for seniors, you will be better prepared to stay safe on the roads. Always remember that your safety and the safety of others are your number one priority- so never take risks while behind the wheel!

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