• How to Be Safe Driving While Aging Behind the Wheel

    How to Be Safe Driving While Aging Behind the Wheel

It’s perfectly normal for driving abilities to change as we get older, but how do you stay safe driving as you age? 

Safe Driving as You Age

How Age Affects Driving

For many, driving is imperative to maintaining independence as you age. By learning tactics for safe driving as you age, you may maintain your independence long into your senior years. Since everyone ages differently, there is no definitive age when people lose their ability to drive. However, there are factors that can make driving a higher risk as you get older. Such factors include reduced vision, impaired hearing, slower motor reflexes, and possible health conditions. Additionally, aging can affect things like flexibility, coordination, and strength which can additionally affect the way you drive. 

Safety Tips for Older Drivers

Getting older does not equate to the automatic loss of your driving ability. There are lots of precautions you can take to continue safe driving. These precautions include:

  • Getting your eyes and hearing checked yearly 
  • Practicing regular strength and flexibility exercises to improve reflexes
  • Speaking with your doctor about how to cope with some conditions that affect your sight or hearing
  • Getting your Z’s, sleep deprivation can be just as dangerous as drinking when behind the wheel
  • Driving an automatic with power steering and power brakes
  • Making sure your car stays in good condition
  • Always keeping windows and headlights clean
  • Leaving enough space between yourself and the car in front of you
  • Driving with the flow of traffic
  • Avoiding texting or talking on the phone while driving

It also might be helpful to know your limitations and cope with them correctly. If certain situations make you uncomfortable while driving, it might be a good idea to avoid them. Such adjustments may include:

  • Driving during daylight hours only
  • Avoiding freeways and highways to stay away from fast-moving traffic
  • Staying in during bad weather
  • Planning your trip before leaving the house to minimize the chances of getting lost

Warning Signs Your Driving May Be Unsafe

Sometimes, you may not notice that your driving is becoming unsafe because the signs can gradually sneak up on you over time. Some signs your driving may be unsafe are:

  • Frequent close calls
  • Increased citations
  • Eye problems
  • Ear problems
  • Trouble with the fundamentals of driving (like switching lanes or keeping up with traffic)
  • Memory lapses that could result in getting lost
  • Issues with reflexes

What if It’s Time to Stop Driving?

Realize this is not the end of your independence and there are alternatives to getting around on your own. Many people feel ashamed, however, it takes a lot of courage and resolve to stop driving and put safety first. You may actually find that there are some benefits to living without a car. These benefits include:

  • Saving money on gas, insurance, and repairs
  • Never having to deal with parking
  • Walking is good for your health

Naturally, the more alternative options to driving you have, the more benefits you will find. If you live in an area where taking the bus or walking is an option, you may find the process of getting from point A to point B to be less stressful and give you time to do other things you enjoy. Many people read on the bus or discover new businesses in their neighborhoods while walking. The adjustment to going carless doesn’t have to be a shameful or stressful one. However, whatever option you choose, be sure to have access to doctor’s visits and social engagements. This may also be a good time to explore your living options as well.

Looking for some other new secrets to living a healthy lifestyle? With this FREE A-Z guide on Living and Aging the Way You Want you can learn the ABCs of aging successfully. Download your PDF and start living the lifestyle you want. 

Confident Living is a continuing care at home membership program, focused on helping you remain active and independent as you age in your own home. We serve the greater Cincinnati area. For more information, contact us online or call (513) 719-3522. 

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