Driving allows seniors to feel independent and maintain a flexible schedule. However, some seniors and their loved ones may have concerns about safety. If you or someone you love is a senior driver, there are a number of important precautions you can take to avoid car accidents, including maintaining your health and planning wisely.
Regular Checkups – For Seniors and Their Cars
Good vision and hearing are essential to staying safe on the road. As we age, our vision and hearing may deteriorate, especially if we have certain health conditions, such as glaucoma or tinnitus. Senior drivers should get essential health checks regularly. These include general health checkups, eye tests and hearing tests.
No one enjoys mechanical problems, but car troubles can be especially vexing for seniors. If brakes or power steering fail, we might not be able to react as quickly as we could when you were younger. Regular oil changes and preventive maintenance can help avoid a car accident, roadside breakdown or a sudden mechanical failure.
Inform Others of Plans
Before leaving on an errand, it’s a good idea for seniors to tell someone their plans, including where they plan to go and when they will likely return. Sending a text message is a good way to share plans so that loved ones won’t forget your schedule.
Take Along Important Items
Even on a short trip to the grocery store, seniors should bring along some essential items, including a phone, emergency medications and identifying information. If you need help getting to a destination, a GPS unit mounted on your dashboard can help you get there. This helps you avoid the need to fumble with maps while you’re on the road. The car should also be stocked with emergency tools, including jumper cables.
A few simple guidelines can help make a driving trip a smoother experience. Seniors should avoid driving in the dark or during inclement weather. These conditions can significantly impair the driver’s ability to see and may require the driver to make snap decisions to avoid car accidents. Timing during a clear day is important as well; completing errands in the morning allows seniors to avoid heavy crowds on the roads.
Distracted driving is dangerous, especially if you need to put in a little extra effort to focus on the road. Avoid tasks that can hamper your concentration, including talking on the phone, eating, fiddling with the radio and changing the destination on your GPS. All drivers should do these things before taking to the road to avoid car accidents.