As we enter January, driving conditions tend to be more dangerous due to rainy or snowy roads. For seniors, age-related declines in vision, mobility and reaction time can limit driving abilities, making it even more difficult to drive safely on slippery roads. To this end, we have put together 6 tips for safe driving that are important for your safety and that of others.
Follow these 6 tips to ensure your safe driving abilities!
- Get regular health check-ups. Monitor changes in vision, hearing and mobility by getting regular medical check-ups. If your primary physician or optometrist notices changes, be proactive by following their recommended advice for glasses, hearing aids or other support devices. It is also important to manage any chronic conditions such as diabetes and be aware of how many medications you are taking as they may affect your driving abilities.
- Maintain your mobility. Adopt a fitness regimen to ensure your physical ability to drive. One of the most common mistakes older adults make is forgetting to check blind spots, so practice exercises that strengthen range of motion in your neck so that you are comfortable turning your head. We also recommend practicing yoga or trying back-strengthening exercises so that you are able to endure sitting while driving, though it may be best to avoid lengthy car rides.
- Keep your car in good working condition. Regular services, tune-ups and oil changes will ensure your car stays in tip-top shape. In addition, make sure that windshields, mirrors and headlights are clean and that the brightness on the dashboard’s instrument panel is turned all the way up to increase visibility when driving at night.
- Plan ahead. Avoid driving in dangerous weather conditions or during the evening hours when it is dark outside. These conditions may impair visibility and increase the chances of unforeseen obstacles and delays such as accidents, road closures or traffic. We also recommend looking up where you are going and planning your route ahead of time so that you won’t need to use GPS devices or look at maps while you are driving.
- Take a refresher course. Organizations like AAA believe that driving is a skill that should be continually improved and offer driver refresher courses to the public. These courses help bring drivers up-to-speed on the latest advancements in vehicle technology and how they affect your driving as well as the incentive of potential discounts on insurance premiums.
- Know your limitations. Be aware of your limitations and avoid any situations that make you feel uncomfortable or unsafe. For instance, if your hands hurt when turning the wheel, try using a wheel cover that is softer and can be easily gripped. By knowing your limitations, you can be proactive about reducing your risk factors to ensure your safety and the safety of others on the road.
We hope that by knowing your limitations and following these 6 tips, you will be able to drive safely and comfortably. However, it is important to recognize when it is time to turn in the keys, which can be a difficult but courageous decision. To learn about the benefits of turning in the keys, read our blog “Keeping Seniors Safe Behind the Wheel”. In support of your decision, Home Care Assistance offers professional caregivers to assist with transportation needs, ensuring both your independence and safety.