The greatest thrill imaginable for a young person is getting a driver’s license and setting off on the open road. A driver’s license represents freedom, independence and mobility.
Later on in life, we depend on this freedom and mobility to survive. The ability to drive becomes so much more. Driving allows us to travel to work, earn money and go shopping. It allows us to provide for our families. Once that freedom of mobility is tasted there is no going back.
After a lifetime of driving, we gain skills and experiential knowledge making the task seem almost effortless. We forget the level of concentration driving requires. A great deal of physical and mental coordination is used. Visual and auditory multi-tasking helps keep our eyes on the road while checking the mirrors and listening for sirens. Driving requires good judgement and fast reaction times.
As we grow older, driving becomes more of a challenge, and a seemingly simple task calls for more focus than ever.
7 Safe Driving Tips
Keeping that in mind, here are tips on how to stay safe on the road:
- Know your limits and make appropriate accommodations. Plan routes avoiding difficult areas to navigate such as high-speed highways, busy roads or congested main streets. Sticking to familiar roads during non-peak times makes driving less stressful.
- Schedule vision and hearing tests and use corrective devices to improve these senses. Other more serious conditions could be present such as cataracts, glaucoma or macular degeneration. These diagnoses make driving dangerous and may require medical attention.
- Drive on the sunny side of the street. When possible, plan outings for sunny clear days. Avoid driving on days when it is raining or snowing or take public transportation if going out is imperative. Avoid driving at night if possible. Even the best eyes have trouble adjusting in the dark.
- Plan ahead and map out your route. Check the Internet for road condition reports, construction zones or expected heavy traffic due to sporting events. If delays are unavoidable, allow ample travel time.
- Take a driving refresher course to not only get an insurance rate discount but to hone driving skills that may have dulled over time. These courses provide lessons in risk avoidance, dangers of drunk driving and crash prevention.
- Do not drive when under the influence of alcohol or prescriptions drugs that may cause drowsiness. Always be well rested when getting behind the wheel. Black coffee, loud music and all four windows rolled down are no substitute for a good night’s sleep.
- Stay in shape, be strong and be flexible. Driving requires physical strength to turn the steering wheel and apply the break. Flexibility is required for turning your head and body looking around for lane changes and making tricky maneuvers such as three-point turns.
Driving safety is a very serious situation with very real consequences if neglected. Consider a driving assessment at the first hint of a problem. This type of inventory tests mobility, agility, judgement and reaction times. Remember safety is Key!
Assistance for your Love Ones
If you are not a senior citizen but are concerned about the driving abilities of the elderly loved ones in your life, share these tips with them. If your concern extends beyond driving and you are apprehensive about their current living situation, there may be a better option available. Connect with the Senior Advisory Professionals at Kupuna Consulting at 732-655-4770 or click here to contact with us.
For more safety tips, download out Home Safety Checklist for Seniors.