Getting older does not necessarily mean a person’s driving days are over. But it is important to plan ahead and take steps to ensure the safety of your loved ones on the road. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration have established recommendations to help families with aging drivers discuss changes in your older loved one’s driving.
- Stay physically active: Staying physically active improves your strength and flexibility. In turn, physical activity can improve driver safety by making it easier to turn the steering wheel, look over your shoulder, and make other movements while driving and parking.
- Schedule regular vision and hearing tests. Confirm with your senior drivers that they have had a hearing and vision test in the last year. Because hearing and vision tend to decline with age, these tests should be done annually. Impaired hearing can be a concern for older drivers by limiting their ability to hear an approaching emergency vehicle or train. Common age-related vision problems — such as cataracts, glaucoma and macular degeneration — also can make it difficult to see clearly or drive at night.
- Manage any chronic conditions. Work with the senior driver’s doctor to manage any chronic conditions — especially those that might impact driver safety, such as diabetes or seizures. Follow your doctor’s instructions for managing your condition and staying safe behind the wheel. This might include adjusting the treatment plan and/or restricting when the elderly driver is on the road.
Driving gives us a sense of freedom and independence. We know this is very important for our aging population, but we all must be safe and responsible drivers – regardless of your age.
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