In the year 2030, it is estimated that one in five drivers will be over the age of 65. The life changing consequences of being in a car crash increases with age due to a higher susceptibility to injury and medical complications.
Senior drivers can take several steps to stay safe on the road, including:
Step 1. Exercising regularly to increase strength and flexibility. Walking, lifting weights and stretching are easy activities to fit into your daily routine.
Step 2. Eating at regular intervals and proper nutrition will help to keep you alert behind the wheel.
Step 3. Reviewing prescriptions and over-the counter medications with your doctor or pharmacist for side effects or restrictions that could impair your ability to operate a motor vehicle.
Step 4. Having your eyes checked by an eye doctor at least once a year to detect changes in your vision and so you know your limitations.
Step 5. Driving during daylight and in good weather. It is more difficult to see at night and in the glare of oncoming headlights.
Step 6. Planning your route before you drive so you know where you are going, we well as using roads with traffic that is moving at a rate of speed where you can travel safely.
Step 7. Using signals to consistently communicate with other drivers, choosing intersections with left turn arrows, and looking for easy parking will help in reaching your destination.
Step 8. Leaving a large following distance behind the car in front of you gives you a cushion of safety and helps to compensate for slower reaction times.
Step 9. Avoiding distractions in your car caused by cell phone use, eating and unsecured objects.
Step 10. Considering potential alternatives to driving by arranging for a ride with a friend or planning a convenient route on public transportation.
Safety Center offers an 8-hour Mature Driver program and a 4-hour refresher to provide tools to help seniors adapt to the effects of aging. Go to https://safetycenter.org/senior-safety/