Everybody wants to be independent when they are older. One of the best ways to be independent is to be able to drive yourself. The problem is that many senior citizens have issues behind the wheel. This is why they are often involved in accidents. For some, it means losing their license when they get to a certain age.
If you plan to drive well into your golden years then you can’t just assume you will be able to pull it off. You have to make some preparations and even some changes to how you drive your car. There are many older people who are able to drive well into their 90s and you can too if you do things right. In this article, we will go over several ways to continue driving safely as you age.
1 – See a doctor
Seniors often end up with declining health and abilities when they get older. Some of these health issues can end up being very dangerous when they get behind the wheel. For instance, high blood pressure could strike while you’re driving and end up causing you to lose control of the car.
Or, you may have vision or hearing problems that make it so that you are not aware of what is happening on the road and around you. It is important to get a thorough check-up done complete with blood tests, vision and hearing exams, and other procedures to make sure that you are healthy enough to drive.
You may need to have your eyeglass prescriptions updated or need to get hearing aids. The best hearing aids on the market these days are very slim, work much better than ever, and can be connected to your smartphone for easier use. These changes will help you be a better driver and avoid preventable accidents.
Once you have a clean bill of health you can be secure when you drive and follow some other tips. If your report comes back with some issues then it’s important to take care of them so that you can be a safe driver.
2 – Drive defensively
Being a defensive driver is one of the best ways to avoid being in an accident. It is always good to avoid an accident even if it isn’t your fault, to begin with. This involves being very intentional about the way that you drive while being careful not to do certain things.
For instance, distracted driving is one of the biggest causes of accidents on the road today. If you are trying to send a text message while driving then you are going to put your life and others at risk. It takes your eyes off of the road for up to five or six seconds at a time during which time your car will be traveling for many yards. If a car ahead of you were to slow down or stop then this is a guaranteed collision.
You should also avoid doing things like eating while you drive, or any other activity that takes your hands off of the wheel and your eyes off of the road. Don’t drink your morning coffee, try to put makeup on, or mess around with your GPS. Do all of these things before you get in the car.
You should also always be looking around to understand what is happening around your car. Try to see what is happening ahead of the car in front of you so you can stop quickly if you need to.
3 – Use technology
There are a lot of safety features that come standard with many new cars these days that will help you drive much longer. The technology has gotten so advanced that there will soon be driverless cars on the road in the near future.
Before that happens, take advantage of the current technology already out there like automatic braking. This feature uses AI to understand what is happening around the car. When the camera senses that the car ahead of you has stopped then it will apply the brakes before you do.
Since many seniors suffer from a reduction in their reaction time, a safety feature like this is essential to avoid an accident. Look for others such as blind-spot warnings so you will not swerve into another lane when there is a car in your blind spot. These features can be so advanced that they detect when your car is drifting into the next lane.
4 – Plan your route
It is really important to know what to expect when you are heading out on the road. When your reaction time is slowed down it becomes increasingly important to avoid any surprises. Planning your route before you leave will help you to avoid them.
Take a few moments to look online and see what the traffic and construction situation is on your planned route. If there is a lot of traffic it’s best to find an alternate route. Not just because it slows you down, but there is an increased risk of getting into an accident.
The same thing goes for construction. There is a much greater risk that somebody tries to pass a slow-moving car in a construction zone and causes an accident. Or, a truck appears out of nowhere and you are too slow to react to avoid it. Leave early if your alternate route takes longer and avoid the entire scenario.
5 – Leave early
Try to not ever be in a rush when you are out on the road. This is what leads to bad decisions being made and a higher chance of accidents. If you end up stuck in traffic or there is construction happening that will slow you down then you will usually try to make up the time lost by driving too fast or aggressively.
If you leave the house early then you are giving yourself a buffer against any of these things happening and being able to drive calmly the entire way.