I am finding myself more aware of issues that arise as far as driving when we reach our senior years, as I have reached that plateau in life myself. Confusion and anxiety can tend to occur if we’re behind the wheel and some unforeseen circumstances such as bad weather, an unfamiliar intersection or heavy traffic are suddenly trust upon us. It has happened to me and I’m sure I’m not alone in experiencing these feelings as the years seem to creep up on us faster then we care to admit. Here are some driving tips that I think may be helpful and make us more comfortable when we get behind the wheel as we reach that AARP age.
1. Beware of Medical Issues That May Develop As We Age: Vision or hearing loss, growing forgetfulness or some medications that we may be taking all can be factors that could have an effect on our driving skills. To help prevent these problems have your regular medical checkups, including vision and hearing tests.
2. Find the Right Vehicle To Suit Your Driving Needs: Choose a vehicle that is easy for you operate and maneuver. I prefer my Jeep over a smaller car. I’m able to see the roadway better, as I’m a little higher up then when I was driving my Grand Am. It may be a personal preference, but it works for me. Also make sure everything in the vehicle is in good working order by having scheduled maintenance done on it.
3. Take It Slow and Give Yourself Plenty of Room: This doesn’t mean driving 30mph on a 60mph highway, which can be dangerous. If you’re more comfortable driving at a lower speed move over to the slow lane whenever possible. Don’t tailgate and be sure to always use the proper signals and yield right of way. Avoid making no more left hand turns then absolutely necessary even if you have to go a couple blocks out of the way. This is a big one for me. Left hand turns always make me nervous, especially if there’s a lot of traffic.
4. Avoid Distractions While Driving: Texting or talking on the phone, loud music, trying to listen to other people’s conversations or looking around at the scenery instead of keeping your eyes on the road are distractions could cause one to have an accident.
5. Avoid Situations That you Uncomfortable: Driving in bad weather, heavy traffic and night driving are some of the situations that could cause anxiety for some elderly drivers. If the weather happens to turn nasty while you’re out there on the road, pull off the road whenever you can do it safely and wait for the weather to clear up before proceeding. It’s better to arrive a little late, then not arrive at all.
6. Know Where You’re Going and How To Get Their: If you’re going to an unfamiliar place, map out the route before you leave, or have someone do it for you.
7. Try A Driver Refresher Course: Many communities offer these courses and in some areas you may even get a discount on your insurance for taking it. Remember none of us are ever too old to learn something new. AARP offers a driver safety course online.
Many of us may not want to hear this, but a time may come when it’s finally time to hang up those car keys. As harsh as this may sound, when accidents start to occur that were probably caused by your unsafe driving skills, there is an increase in traffic tickets or you have had just one too many close calls, you may want to consider other options to get you back and forth to your destinations. Consult with family members, friends, other senior citizens or the local community to see the other transportation options that may be available for you. Be Safe!
Sources: Help Guide.org/elder/senior citizen driving