Since the year 2000, there has been a 60% increase in drivers over the age of 65. The increase in mobile, independent seniors is great, but the risk of being injured in a traffic accident also increases as drivers get older. Older drivers, particularly those aged 75 years and older, have higher crash death rates, primarily due to increased vulnerability to injury in the crash.
In general, older adults engage in safer driving behaviours. The older age groups are more likely to wear a seatbelt while driving, drive sober, drive without the use of a cell phone, and drive when conditions are safest. However, older drivers face challenges that others may not. For example, age can affect vision, cognitive function, and provoke physical changes.
There are additional steps older drivers can take to help stay safe on the roads.
- Talk to Your Doctor If you are on any medications, it is important to discuss with your doctor prior to driving, if the medications have any effect on your mind and body that could potentially be dangerous.
- Have Your Eyes Checked Once you reach a certain age, your eyes start to change again. Get them checked once a year and wear the glasses or corrective lenses as prescribed.
- Pick Ideal Times to Drive Being cautious about weather and time of day when planning on driving is very important. Driving during daylight, and in good weather not only helps you as a driver but decreases the likelihood of other cars losing control and causing a collision.
- Enjoy the Perks of Retirement Retired from your job gives you the liberty to avoid rush hour. Avoiding 5:00pm by even 20 minutes significantly reduces the number of vehicles on the road. If you can avoid it – do!
- Plan Your Route Beforehand Planning your route beforehand relieves the stress and confusion that may occur for all age groups. Wondering where to go or trying to figure out how to reach you destination takes your attention from the task at hand – driving. Planning your route in advance takes one more thing off your plate.
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