Seniors Driving Safety

December 18, 2021
Seniors Driving Safety

As you get older, you'll likely notice some physical changes that can effect certain actions — such as turning your head to look for oncoming traffic or braking safely became more challenging. Still, older drivers can remain safe on the road. Driver safety requires more than understanding road signs and traffic laws esspecially for the older drivers.

Consider the following tips for elderly driver’s safety.

1. Stay physically active

Staying physically active improves your strength and flexibility, so your physical activity can improve your driving safety by making it easier to turn the steering wheel, look over your shoulder, and make other movements while driving and parking.

Look for ways to include physical activity in your daily routine. Walking is a great choice for many people. Stretching and strength training exercises at home are helpful for older drivers.

2. Schedule regular vision and hearing tests

Hearing and vision, tend to decline with age. Impaired hearing can be a concern for older drivers by limiting the ability to hear an approaching emergency or any other vehicle. Common age-related vision problems such as cataracts, glaucoma and macular degeneration can also make it difficult to see clearly or drive at night.

Have your vision and hearing tests regularly as advised by the doctor. Even if you think your hearing and vision are fine, stick to your doctor's recommended exam schedule.

3. Manage any chronic conditions

Work with your doctor to manage any chronic conditions especially those that might impact driver safety, such as diabetes or seizures. Follow your doctor's instructions for managing your condition and staying safe behind the wheel. This might include adjusting your treatment plan or restricting you’re driving.

4. Know your Drugs

It is very important to know your medications. Many drugs, including pain medications, sleep medications, antihistamines and muscle relaxants can affect the driver’s safety, even when you're feeling fine. Read your medication labels thoroughly, So that you may know what to expect from each medicine. Don't drive if you've taken medication that causes drowsiness or dizziness. If you're concerned about side effects or the impact on driver safety, consult your doctor.

When Should Seniors Give Up Driving?

Driving is very important for seniors who possess a car and the capacity to drive for participating regularly in social activities, so less likely to experience isolation and depression. However, according to Statistics Canada, people aged 70 or older experience accident rates second only to young males. Though seniors may have decades of driving experience, the ability to drive safely can be affected by changes to vision hearing attention reaction time Judgement of speed and distance These deficits can lead to difficulty responding quickly to danger, merging safely into traffic, and maintaining appropriate speed. Certain health conditions can also affect driving ability: Dementia, which can affect navigation, decision-making and judgement reduced range of motion, which can lead to difficulty to quickly navigating controls, poorly controlled diabetes, which can lead to altered consciousness, sleep disorders and medications affecting alertness. Making the decision because of the potential loss of independence, seniors are less likely to make the decision themselves to stop driving.  Doctors are much more likely to screen a senior and can decide better for your ability to drive. Seniors themselves should also think about their driving capabilities and decide to give up driving to avoid some serious happening.