Older Drivers: How to Drive Safe
Getting older means many things about your body are changing. For most people, this is merely a nuisance, but for some, it may impact their ability to be a safe driver. If you’re worried about your ability to drive, that’s natural. But there are things you can do to ensure you’re able to stay on the road for a while.
How to Ensure You’re Road-Worthy
- Check your eyesight. Losing some vision clarity comes with aging, and many people are lifelong glasses or contact wearers as well. If you’re not able to see street signs well or recognize nearby pedestrians, you should get checked out. If you’re unsure if your current prescription matches your needs, go to the eye doctor for a check-up. Some may be nervous about doing so, but ultimately getting the correct prescription will make you a better and more confident driver. It will also point out any potential vulnerability in your vision, so you know how to handle it.
- Monitor your behavior when driving. Check-in with yourself about how driving makes you feel. Are you often overwhelmed or nervous? This could be a sign of some other issues, so it’s important to note how often you feel this way.
- Check your vehicle control. When driving, it’s best to feel like you have a good handle on your vehicle and that you are in control. If you’re ever feeling otherwise, it is a good idea to take stock and examine that feeling to see if you need a break.
- Ask passengers. If you frequently drive with others, check-in with them to see how they feel about your driving. Sometimes, we don’t realize we’re not doing something well until it’s pointed out. Check to ensure they feel safe and like you’re in control of the road. If they say no, consider if you can improve or if it’s time to give up driving for good.
Ensuring your health is in good order is a positive step in the right direction, but there are other things you can do to make sure you’re a good driver.
There are other things you can do to make sure your vehicle is ready for the road.
How to equip your vehicle for safety
Even if you’re not experiencing poor vision or other issues, it’s essential to make sure your vehicle is in good working order.
- Make sure the safety features work. This includes your brake and headlights, turn signal, and mirrors. These are important for seeing and alerting other drivers to your presence.
- Keep the windows clean. Making sure you have a clear view out of all windows is essential, especially if you’re concerned about your vision. Keep cleaning supplies on hand in case you need to clear off-road debris. Then you’ll never be caught unable to see.
- Follow the doctor’s orders. If you need to wear glasses, make sure they’re always on when driving. Avoid driving at night if your vision suffers then.
- Keep emergency contacts close at hand. If you have a roadside assistance membership through an extended warranty, program the number into your phone or keep it in your glovebox. Make sure you have others who can help in an emergency program as well. If your car breaks down, you want to make sure you have helped a phone call away.
For some older drivers, not being able to drive feels like a loss of independence. But it doesn’t have to be that way. If you follow medical advice, you should be able to keep driving. There are options like Uber and Lyft and other programs to help seniors stay active if you’re not able to.
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