Getting older does not have to mean giving up the independence driving provides, or risking one’s life on the road. Here, the attorneys at ASFL provide seven tips that seniors should keep in mind.
- Regular hearing and vision tests – Doctors recommend that Seniors have their vision tested every one to two years, and their hearing tested every three years. Keeping up with these tests ensures that a doctor can treat any problems that arise as early as possible. If you wear contacts or glasses, keep them clean and check with a doctor to make sure your prescription is up-to-date. Polarized or anti-reflective glasses and sunglasses can help prevent glare, increasing visibility on bright days. Those who are affected by glare at night should stick to driving in daylight. If you are hard of hearing, wear a hearing aid while driving, and make sure it is functioning properly before you leave the house.
- Get a good balance of rest and exercise – Physical activity has been shown to improve driving ability in older adults. Strength training can improve one’s ability to turn the steering wheel, pump gas, accelerate and brake the car. Stretching and other flexibility exercises can help when turning to check blind spots, or looking both ways. In addition to exercise, getting a good night’s sleep will ensure that your drive isn’t a tired one. Tired driving is just as dangerous as drunk driving; do not attempt to drive without proper rest.
- Optimal Driving Conditions – Don’t make driving any harder than it needs to be. Drive under pleasant weather conditions. Rain, fog, or other inclement weather can lead to poor visibility and slick conditions: have someone else drive you, or use public transportation. Keep driving to daytime hours if possible, and don’t drive if you are feeling worn down or upset, as these states can lead to poor judgment and response time.
- Accommodate Yourself – Everyone has their limitations, especially as they age. Make your drive easier by acknowledging your personal difficulties. Problems gripping or turning the steering wheel? Get a steering wheel cover. Difficulty seeing? Drive a car with large, easy-to-read dials and controls. Difficulty hearing? Keep the interior quiet, and save music and audiobooks for time spent at home.
- Chronic Conditions and Medication – Some conditions, such as diabetes, chronic migraines, or seizures, can impact driving ability. Take all medications as prescribed, and talk to your doctor to learn about the changes that should be made to your driving behavior. Certain medications can impact your ability to drive, and will be labelled as such. Do not take any chances with your safety; find a different means of transportation if needed.
- Be Prepared – This goes for drivers of any age, but especially seniors. Know where you are going, how to get there, and approximately how long it should take. Let someone know where you are going and how long you’ll be. Program your GPS device before you start the car, and if you do not have one, make sure you have gone over the directions before you begin your drive. Make sure you always have a spare tire, jumper cables, a windshield scraper, and water in your car, especially for longer drives.
- Take a Refresher Course – Courses, such as AAA’s Roadwise Driver, can help seniors improve their driving ability, drive confidently, and stay aware of danger on the road. Enrolling in one of these courses can potentially give you a discount on your insurance as well. Contact your insurance company to see if that is the case.
Think of these tips as ways to increase your safety, and the safety of others, on the road. For additional information on automobile safety, or to speak with an experienced attorney about your automobile accident claim, contact the attorneys at Azrael Franz Schwab and Lipowitz today.