Some seniors are well aware of a slight cognitive decline as they age, which may affect their driving, while others may be more insistent about driving “business as usual.” No one wants to hear that they’re too old to drive, but for some, this may be the case. For others, senior driving safety is a must. Awareness is the most important thing when it comes to elderly driving, in addition to senior driving safety tips that everyone over the age of 65 should follow.
Senior Driving Safety and Statistics
Elderly driving statistics report that there are 33 million drivers over the age of 65, which is quite a large population. Of that group of elderly drivers, the fatality rates are 17 times higher than that of the 24-year-old age group. This has to do, in part, with the fragility of seniors, but also with a lack of awareness and cognitive decline. Simply put, elderly people driving can be a little scary, and there have been numerous attempts at retesting elderly drivers. In fact, some states do have graded licenses, and some do have special requirements such as retesting. New Jersey is not currently one of those states that offer an elderly driving evaluation. Therefore, senior driving safety must be an implemented standard to keep everyone safe on the road.
Health-Related Senior Driving Safety Ideas
It’s always important to take care of your health, but taking care of your health with regard to senior driving safety is imperative. Experts advise that those over the age of 65 should have their vision checked. Even if it seems okay, the gradual decline of visual acuity as we age might not be noticeable.
It is also important to get your hearing tested, another “sense” that can affect old age and driving and senior driving safety. You need to be able to make sure you can hear a horn or other sounds on the road clearly.
Lastly, it’s important for a senior driver to understand their medications. When it comes to older driver safety, it’s important to know what medications interact with other ones, which ones interact with alcohol, and which medications simply should not be taken before driving (such as opioids). One of the most prominent senior driving safety tips is to know your medications well before you get behind the wheel.
Other Senior Driving Safety Advice
Beyond health, there are many older driver safety tips to consider. Some of these include:
- Be aware of driving conditions. Generally, a good piece of senior driving safety advice is to simply stay home in low visibility, extremely wet weather, ice, and snow. Some seniors are also uncomfortable driving at night. If you are uncomfortable, you should not drive.
- Buy and drive a car with automatic transmission. It’s much more common these days to have only an automatic. For senior driving, operating a manual gear shift can be tough for someone who has arthritis.
- Take familiar routes. It’s best to drive where you are familiar so that you feel more comfortable and drive with confidence.
- Keep up with your auto maintenance. Another good piece of senior driving safety advice is to ensure that your windshield wipers, headlights, seat belts, and defrost controls are working properly at all times.
- Make sure your vehicle is properly equipped for your needs. Wheelchair-friendly cars are an ideal choice for those who have mobility issues. This can help increase your confidence and comfort.
- If your state does not offer a driving assessment for the elderly, take a defensive driving course for older persons, which is usually offered through AAA or AARP.
One of the most important things to keep in mind with regard to senior driving safety is to not drive if you feel uncomfortable or unsure. There is no shame in having to take the bus or call a taxi if you’re simply not feeling well that day.
For more senior driving safety information, or to learn about mobility products that can help improve your mobility, such as stair lifts or wheelchair ramps, contact Williams Lift Co. today. We’re here to help you live your best life, at any age.