Aging brings about changes of all kinds, some which challenge your independence. There is nothing quite like the feeling of being able to hop in your car and go for a spin whenever you choose. However, reaction times slow as the years wear on, so it’s necessary to be aware of a few safe driving tips for seniors to ensure you stay safe on the roads. After decades maneuvering two tons of steel around, letting go of that freedom can be tough to swallow – but there will come a day when you must, for your sake and that of other drivers. You may not be prepared to hand over the keys, nor may you need to yet, just monitor these factors to be sure you make the most of your remaining time behind the wheel:
Plan When You Drive
Choose the time of day
More people are on the highways and byways during rush hour, everybody knows that. The vast increase in cars creates a greater chance for an accident, especially if an angry driver cuts you off trying to get to an exit. Avoid the traffic snarls by heading out during off-peak hours unless you absolutely have to and do your best to keep from driving at night or during bad weather – the decreased visibility makes it that much tougher on everyone.
Know the way
It sounds simple, but one way to minimize distractions while you’re behind the wheel is to lay out your route ahead of time. At the very least, you can make things easier by not backtracking, though it might be helpful to have a reminder of when you need to turn, too.
Go Back to School
Refresh the rules of the road
Though you may still feel just as spry as you did the day you got your driver’s license, the fact of the matter is a lot of things have changed. Several organizations, such as the AARP and AAA, offer safe driving courses geared specifically toward retirees. And, if you take the class, you might be eligible for discounts on your car insurance, too.
Take Care of You
Manage your physical health
We all know taking care of the body is crucial to living well, dealing with achy joints is a challenge when you are out for a walk or climbing stairs. It can become a big problem, though, if you are unable to turn your head to see the blind spot when changing lanes. As you go through your workout routine – and before you climb in the car – take some time to do some flexibility exercises.
Get your eyes checked
Most people have an annual visit to the eye doctor anyway, so this is pretty much a no-brainer. Be sure to keep your prescriptions up to date and pay attention to any advice he or she has. Your eyesight is one of your most valuable assets when driving and, as it fades, you will transfer to the passenger seat.
Pay attention to the signs
Suffering from some brain fog? Having a tough time seeing the road signs? Feel like your medications make you woozy at certain times of day? These are all indications your time driving must be limited or will come to an end. It can be tough to admit that you have to call time on your experience on the road, but you know your body better than anyone. Make an honest assessment periodically, then begin coordinating with family members and friends for rides as necessary.