You can likely remember what it was like driving with a carefree attitude when you were young. Out on the open road with no worries, taking chances and pushing the limits. But, as time passes and you grow into maturity, lots of things start to change, including your attitude about safety.
Seniors represent the largest percentage of fatal car accident victims in the U.S. Even with decades of driving experience, your skills can still get rusty with age. During harsh seasonal weather, conditions can change quickly and your reaction time and concentration need to be in top shape. Taking care while behind the wheel is increasingly important as you get older.
The top 10 safest driving cities in California have instituted more comprehensive testing and training especially for senior drivers and the results have been impressive. Take a look at some of the things that you can do to keep safe on the road.
Visit Your Doctor
Make an appointment with your doctor to review whether it is still suitable for you to be driving. You may be taking medications that can make it unsafe to operate a vehicle, and your doctor should be consulted about any dangers. Your doctor may recommend only limited local driving or avoiding driving at night or alone if your health is at risk. Having a medical emergency while you are behind the wheel can not only be a risk to you but also put other drivers in danger.
Eyes & Ears
Your two most valuable senses while driving are your vision and your hearing. As you grow older these are also the two senses that can deteriorate the fastest. Make sure that you have proper prescription glasses so that your eyesight is in top shape. Your optometrist may recommend special lenses to help you with nighttime driving. Always wear your hearing aids while behind the wheel to help you stay conscious of what is going on around you on the road.
There are so many distractions on the road today that staying focused can be a challenge. Turn off your phone, radio and GPS to help keep you in the moment and concentrating only on the road. Practise defensive driving and don’t be afraid to take your time within the posted speed limits. Give the right of way to faster vehicles and concentrate on where you need to go.
Simple is always better. When choosing a vehicle for your senior years, keep your own needs in mind. An automatic transmission is preferable over a manual for ease and convenience. Make sure that your vehicle is equipped with power steering and power brakes. There are several simple sedan models that have excellent safety and crash ratings that should be on your list.
Take A Passenger
If you find that you are having more difficulty driving on your own you may want to take a passenger with you on the road. Having a bit of help with navigation, sharing part of the driving and assisting you in case of emergency can help you stay safer and more comfortable when you are driving.