?Driving can sometimes be challenging for senior drivers. Driver safety is not just about understanding road signs and traffic laws. As a person ages, it's natural for the reflexes to slow down, which in turn, has a direct affect on one's driving ability. Even certain physical changes make driving difficult. Here are some tips for elderly drivers ranging from taking good care of themselves to adjusting their driving style.
Remaining physically active
Aging can result in loss of muscle strength, coordination and flexibility that can have an impact on a person's ability to safely control a car. It is very important to stay physically active. Staying ?t and doing regular physical activity can also improve driver safety by making it easier to turn the steering wheel, looking over your shoulder and making other movements while driving and parking.
Take charge of your health
Senses like hearing and vision tend to degenerate with age. Impaired hearing can be a concern for older drivers as it affects the ability to hear the traffic sound. Regular check-ups are critical to keep an elderly person in the best possible driving shape. They should get their hearing checked once a year. If doctors have prescribed hearing aids, they should wear them. Not just ears but get the eyes test done every year. Keep the windshield, mirrors, and headlights clean, and turn up the brightness of the instrument t panel on your dashboard. Getting enough sleep is essential to driving well. Do not drive after taking medication that might causes drowsiness or dizziness. If side effects of medication or impact on driver safety is a concern, consult a doctor.
Avoid distractions when driving
Avoid distraction when you are driving. Stop using mobile phones, or fiddling with the radio or GPS device. Focus on driving and safety as older drivers are slow to react to driving emergencies.
Look for alternative mode of transport
If you are well connected by public transportation, then that is the best option to commute. Check the local public transportation services and ask for concessions that are valid for senior citizens. Share rides with your family, friends or neighbours. They can also consider taxi for quick trips or else hire a chauffeur.
Always keep the car well-maintained
Keep the car in good condition as it increases its lifespan and sudden chance of breakdowns. Make sure the car is serviced regularly and check if all the windows and headlights are in working condition. Elder people can also opt for a car with automatic gearbox and power steering making their ride easy.
Address attention and reaction time
Maintain distance between your car and the car in front of you. Brake early when you are about to stop. When driving on highway, stay in left lane, where the traffic moves slowly as compared to right lane. If possible, avoid rush hour, heavy traffic and look for alternative routes.
Drive under optimal conditions
There are certain conditions that make driving difficult. Avoid driving during in such conditions. Driving in heavy traffic can be quite stressful even for a normal person. Elderly people should avoid this. Also avoid driving in foggy conditions and in darkness.
Plan your journey
When you get in your vehicle, be prepared to drive to your destination. Plan your route accordingly for the journey so you don’t find yourself trying to read a map or printed directions while driving.
Drive close to the speed limit, or at the speed of the traffic. Don’t go much above or below it. This will give you more time to react.
Be aware of your surroundings, traffic and others on the road. Avoid driving on unfamiliar streets at night. Drive in places and on routes you know well. Avoid driving alone. Having another person in the car can help to keep you alert to the hazards and road conditions. Listen to others who ride with you if they say they are concerned about your driving abilities. Notice and pay attention to any difficulties you have while driving.
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