As we age, our bodies go through many changes that can impact our ability to drive safely. While it’s common for adults to continue driving well into their elderly years, practicing safe driving habits becomes increasingly important as we get older.
Safe driving tips for seniors
Schedule regular vision and hearing tests
Vision and hearing changes are normal with aging. For this reason, it’s important to schedule regular vision and hearing tests to ensure that your senses are sharp and up to the task of driving. Declining vision can affect your ability to read road signs, navigate intersections, and see pedestrians. Similarly, hearing loss can impact your ability to hear other drivers’ horns, emergency sirens, and other crucial audio cues.
Limit driving to daylight hours
Driving at night or in difficult weather conditions can be more challenging as we age. Impaired vision and slower reflexes make it harder to react quickly to changing road conditions, especially at night. It is best to limit driving to daylight hours when visibility is optimal, and you can see everything clearly on the road to avoid potential mishaps.
Always wear a seatbelt
Wearing a seatbelt isn’t just another state law that you need to follow; it’s also essential for your safety. Older adults are more vulnerable to injuries in case of an accident, and a seatbelt could be the only thing that can save you from severe harm. Make sure your seat belt is properly secured before driving, and always keep it on while on the road.
Keep a safe distance
Maintaining a safe distance from the vehicle in front of you is critical when driving, especially when you’re driving at higher speeds. A safe distance allows you more time to react to sudden changes in road conditions or the behavior of other drivers around you. The general rule of thumb is to allow at least a two-car distance between you and the vehicle in front of you.
Avoid distractions while behind the wheel
Distracted driving is a significant cause of accidents on our roads. When driving, try to avoid anything that might distract you, including texting, eating or drinking, or anything that takes your attention away from the road. Always give driving your full attention to minimize the risk of accidents.
Plan your route ahead of time
Planning your route ahead of time is a simple yet effective way to avoid getting lost while driving and the subsequent stress associated with it. Make sure you know your destination before getting on the road and use navigation aids such as GPS systems or road maps to help you get there more easily. This way, you can focus on driving and avoid getting stuck in traffic or taking the wrong route.
Take frequent breaks
Long drives can be exhausting, and driving while tired can be as dangerous as driving under the influence of alcohol. Take frequent breaks to rest, stretch your legs, and drink water. Also, have a snack or two to keep you alert, especially during extended drives.
Keep your insurance up to date
Having the right car insurance at any age is crucial. No matter how seasoned a driver you are, staying protected on the road is key, as accidents can happen.
Seniors need to exercise extra caution when driving on the road to ensure their safety. By following these tips, elderly drivers can minimize the risk of accidents and keep themselves, their passengers, and other drivers on the road safe, leading to more confident driving and overall better driving experiences. To learn more, contact your local Rural Mutual agent.