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Driving for Seniors: 12 Tips for Staying Safe

Seniors staying safe behind the wheel utilizing safe driving tips

There’s no feeling like hitting the open road. But while it’s true that decades of driving teach us to drive carefully and defensively, it’s also true that increasing age can open up new areas of concern. Safe driving for seniors means considering these challenges and addressing them.

It’s no secret that as we age, physical and mental capabilities can start to change and affect driving for seniors. Even though getting older doesn’t necessarily equate to poor driving skills, it’s important to understand how age-related factors and health conditions can impact your abilities every time you slip into the driver’s seat.

12 Safe Driving Tips for Seniors

There are various steps you can take to stay as safe as possible on the road. Here are 12 tips to consider before getting behind the wheel.

  1. 1. Stay physically active. Physical activity translates into better mobility when you need to hop in the car and run errands. Increased flexibility makes everything from turning the steering wheel to twisting your head easier. 
  2. 2. Schedule regular vision and hearing tests. Common age-related vision problems can make it difficult to see in general, but driving with these issues can be downright dangerous. Not being able to hear clearly can also make for compromised driving conditions.
  3. 3. Manage your medications. Prescription drugs can have side effects that make driving dangerous. Some medications can result in drowsiness or dizziness. If you are unsure of the side effects of your current medications, be sure to consult your doctor or pharmacist.
  4. 4. Drive when the roads are safer. Roads can get dangerous quickly, especially in unfavorable weather conditions like snow or heavy rain. Additionally, driving at night or during rush hour can be difficult. A good rule of thumb is if you have any hesitation, it’s better to stay put and wait until the conditions are better for driving for seniors.
  5. 5. Update your driving skills. Refresher courses are a great option for older drivers because they test your reflexes, knowledge, and overall driving capabilities. AARP even offers smart driving Courses
  6. 6. Consider your car. Vehicles with automatic transmission, power steering, power brakes, and large mirrors all make driving for seniors easier. Many new cars come equipped with backup cameras, automatic emergency braking, sensors that can alert a driver to a nearby object or vehicle, and even lane correction systems. 
  7. 7. Limit distractions. If you use your cell phone for driving, use voice activation rather than fumbling with your phone. Even talking on the phone can be an unnecessary distraction, especially in traffic.
  8. 8. Keep your car in shape. Regular car maintenance can prevent problems. It’s also important to make sure window defrosters work and you have enough wiper fluid. Keep your windows, mirrors, and headlights clean, as well.
  9. 9. Get to know your vehicle. Whether you’re driving your own car or renting a car, make sure you know exactly where everything is and how it all works — including hazard lights, wipers (both front and back), defrosters, and any safety features.
  10. 10. Plan your route. If necessary, map your drive so that you avoid possible stressors such as busy highways and congested intersections. 
  11. 11. Maintain the speed limit. While driving too fast is an obvious risk, some drivers fail to realize that driving too slowly, especially on the highway, is also dangerous.
  12. 12. Maintain a safe distance. Make sure to leave plenty of room between you and the car in front of you on the road. 

Making Life Easier — and More Interesting — at Crestwood Manor

The best senior communities offer so much more than just basic senior care. Imagine days that start in the heated indoor pool before moving on to the woodworking shop or art studio. Take a look at the Crestwood Manor activity calendar to see the opportunities offered to socialize, learn, compete, work out, and enjoy life. The only thing there’s less of? Cooking, cleaning, making appointments, and running errands. Schedule a visit today to see for yourself what life looks like at our campus in Whiting, New Jersey.

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