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 Safe Driving Tips for Seniors

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Senior woman driving a car.

When it comes to driving, safety should always be a top priority. However, as we age, our driving abilities may not be as sharp as they once were. 

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), older adults (age 65 and over) have a higher risk of being involved in a fatal car accident compared to younger drivers. 

But don’t worry, with a few tweaks and adjustments, you can keep on cruising safely. Here are some safe driving tips for older adults that can help keep you and others safe on the road:

  • Update your driving skills
  • Stay physically active
  • Always wear your seatbelt
  • Regular vehicle maintenance
  • Planning your route prior to driving
  • Adjustments for nighttime driving
  • Avoid distractions while driving
  • Drive defensively 
  • Knowing when to stop driving

Remember that age is just a number. It doesn’t define your capabilities or limit your experiences. Yet, as we age, it’s natural for certain abilities like our vision, hearing, and quick reflexes to gradually decline. The Lodge at Truitt Homestead offers residents concierge services for all your out and about needs.

Update Your Driving Skills

It’s always a good idea to brush up on your driving skills. Consider taking a refresher course to improve your driving abilities. These courses are designed to help you stay up-to-date with current driving laws and technology. You can find these courses through local organizations, older adult centers, or by a quick search online.

Stay Physically Active

Staying active with strength training can help improve your strength and flexibility, making it easier for you to steer, and look over your shoulder. Simple exercises such as walking or swimming can go a long way in keeping you fit for the drive.

Regular Check-ups

Regular health check-ups are a must. You need to make sure your eyesight and hearing are up to scratch. If you wear glasses or contact lenses, always use them while driving. And, if you have a hearing aid, make sure it’s functioning correctly before you hit the road.

Know Your Medications

Some medications can affect your driving ability. They may cause drowsiness or other side effects. It’s best to talk to your doctor or pharmacist about the medications you’re taking and how they might impact your driving.

Always Wear Your Seatbelt

Make it a habit to buckle up every time you get behind the wheel. This is the single most effective way to prevent injuries and fatalities in the event of an accident. Wearing a seatbelt properly can keep you in your seat in the event of a collision, preventing you from being ejected from the vehicle.

Keep Up with Regular Vehicle Maintenance

Regular maintenance is essential in keeping your vehicle safe and roadworthy. Get your car serviced regularly, keep an eye on your brakes, tires, and fluids, and have any issues addressed immediately. Don’t take any chances when it comes to your safety on the road.

Plan Your Route

Before you start your journey, plan your route. Familiarize yourself with the roads, turns, and landmarks. This can help you stay confident and composed during the drive.

Avoid Rush Hours

Trying to navigate through rush hour traffic can be stressful. If possible, try to schedule your drives during less busy times of the day.

Make Adjustments for Nighttime Driving

As we age, our eyesight can diminish, making it more challenging to see at night. Try to avoid driving at night if possible, but if you must, make adjustments to help improve visibility. 

Adjust your mirrors, clean the headlights, and reduce any external light interference inside the car. Also, consider speaking with your doctor to see if you need a prescription to correct your vision.

Avoid Distracted Driving

Distracted driving is dangerous for everyone on the road. Avoid any unnecessary distractions while driving, such as using your phone, eating, grooming, or fiddling with the radio. Stay focused on the task at hand, and remember–it only takes a split second for an accident to happen.

Drive Defensively

Always be aware of the drivers around you. Don’t assume they’ll do what you think they should. Keep a safe distance, use your mirrors frequently, and always signal before changing lanes or turning.

Senior man riding the bus.

Consider Alternative Transportation 

Lastly, but most importantly, recognize when it’s time to stop driving. If you ever feel uncomfortable or unsafe, it may be time to consider alternatives like public transport, carpooling, or rideshare services.

Giving up driving doesn’t mean giving up your independence. Investigate these alternatives in advance so that you can transition smoothly when the time comes to stop driving.

Safe Driving is Top Priority 

Older adults can still enjoy the freedom and independence that comes with driving, but it’s essential to do so safely. By following these safe driving tips, you can reduce the risk of accidents, keep yourself and others safe on the road, and continue to enjoy time behind the wheel. 

Remember, safe driving starts with making the right choices. And sometimes, it’s a matter of knowing when to turn in the keys and let the trained professionals at The Lodge at Truitt Homestead take the wheel. Why not book a tour and check out what we have to offer today.

It’s not about giving up your independence, but rather about ensuring your well-being and the safety of others on the road. So, stay sharp, stay safe, and enjoy your ride!

Written by The Lodge at Truitt Homestead

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