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Safe Driving Tips for Seniors

As you get older, vision, hearing or memory loss can impair your driving performance, compromising your ability to drive safely. If you are taking prescription or over-the-counter drugs, these may also cause you to drive unsafely. Make sure you monitor your driving skills by considering these red flags for unsafe driving:

  • Abrupt lane changes, failing to yield, drifting into other lanes or driving on the wrong side of the road may suggest vision problems.

  • Failure to use turn signals, braking or accelerating improperly.

  • Reading signs becomes difficult, confusing the gas and brake pedals, or your range of motion becomes limited (i.e. looking over your shoulder or moving your hands and feet).

  • Increased citations or accidents.

If you encounter these issues frequently, it may be time to reconsider your ability to drive. Remember that this does not mean the decline or end of your independence - several other transit options exist for you to take advantage of.

Maintaining Safe Driving

Before you explore other options of transit, try to maintain safe driving habits. Seniors should have their vision and hearing checked annually. If you're taking medication, be sure you talk to your doctor about the effects the medication may have on your driving. Make sure you are not drowsy; driving late at night may not be a good idea.

While you're on the road, be sure to give yourself a buffer in between your car and the one in front of you. Avoid distractions such as talking on the cell phone, observing the scenery, or looking at the person in the passenger seat. Also make changes to your driving practices: only drive during the day or in good weather.

Seniors can also take a variety of classes to help refresh their memory about traffic laws. The AARP offers driver safety courses designed to help older drivers hone their driving skills and avoid accidents. If you prefer an online course, the AARP offers a refresher course to individuals over the age of 50 about driving safely.

Alternatives to Driving

If you've decided to give up your driving privileges, you can still remain mobile through public transportation, walking, riding a bike, or hailing down a taxi. Also, don't be scared or ashamed to ask a friend or family member for a ride to the grocery store or to see your grandchild! Always remember, safety first.



Featured Sites:

Cord Blood Registry
March of Dimes
Susan G. Komen

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