These Safety Guidelines Reduce Risks For Older Drivers

Physical changes are part of aging and can affect our driving skills. These tips help older drivers navigate roads safely.

older drivers

We treasure our independence; driving and freedom are linked in the American lexicon. Summer months are a popular time for road trips. As traffic increases, so do injuries from car crashes. Older drivers are more vulnerable to driving mishaps. We have some tips to help them adjust to the physical changes that can make driving more challenging.

Understand how medications affect your ability to drive.

Prescription and over-the-counter drugs can cause blurred vision, drowsiness, and other side effects that have an impact on your driving. The Journal of the American Medical Association Internal Medicine found that the number of seniors taking at least three psychotropic drugs has doubled in the past decade. According to AAA, 48 percent of seniors haven’t talked with their doctor about how their medications may hamper driving skills. Consequently, it is important to discuss all your medications with your Summit physician. Your doctor can help you understand how medication side effects may affect your driving. If there is a problem, your doctor may be able to adjust your prescriptions.

Plan your route with your skill level in mind.

Many older drivers feel more comfortable driving at slower speeds. However, driving slower than the posted speed limit increases the risk of a crash. If you prefer more leisurely speeds, plan a route with speed limits that are comfortable for you. This may mean taking back roads instead of the highway. If highway driving can’t be avoided, ask someone else to drive you to your destination.

Don’t ignore warning signs that your skills have declined.

No one wants to admit that his or her driving skills aren’t what they used to be. Still, there are signs that are too dangerous to ignore. Do you find yourself drifting out of your lane? Are you missing traffic signs? Are you experiencing minor fender benders or near misses on the road? If you are, it’s time to reassess your skills. Your doctor can tell you if slower reflexes or weaker vision are related to medications. He or she may also be able to help with resources to keep you safer behind the wheel.

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