8 Tips for Senior Drivers

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larger_LetsTalkDriving_405x450_2.jpgIncreasing numbers of aging parents are continuing to drive well into their senior years. While driving later in life allows individuals to continue to enjoy a higher degree of independence, it is important that aging parents take steps to maintain their driving skills.

The American Automobile Association (AAA), SeniorDriving.AAA.com, offers tips and hints that can help seniors continue driving in a safer manner.

Among the tips included on this site are the following:

  1. Seniors who have been diagnosed with cataracts need to check with their eye doctors frequently to ensure that their prescriptions are properly adjusted.
  2. Most people know they need to clean their windshields. Seniors driving at night should also make sure that headlights are properly cleaned.
  3. Individuals with diabetes should not drive without bringing along medication and an emergency snack in the event of sudden low blood glucose levels.
  4. Reaction time tends to slow with age, so senior drivers need to compensate. Allowing for increased space between cars can help, as can eliminating distractions (cell phones, loud radios, noisy passengers, etc.)
  5. Drivers of any age need to be aware of medications that cause drowsiness and may affect their ability to drive safely. This includes over-the-counter medications. If in doubt, ask a doctor or pharmacist.
  6. Drive with the hands on the steering wheel in the 9 o'clock and 3 o'clock positions. Studies show that this position better enables drivers to make sharp turns in order to avoid potentially dangerous situations.
  7. Carry warning equipment. It's important to keep flares, reflective triangles, or some other form of "emergency notice" in the car in case of an unexpected breakdown or vehicular accident. Setting these up alerts other drivers to the situation and enables them to better avoid the automobile.
  8. Sit at the proper distance from the steering wheel. Many drivers operate the vehicle while sitting too close to or too far away from the steering wheel. The recommended distance is 10-12 inches from the steering wheel's center to the driver's breastbone, as this distance allows the operator of the vehicle to maintain control over the car and lessens fatigue. Sitting too close to the steering wheel may also result in injury if the airbag inflates during an accident.
Aging parents are encouraged to learn all they can about how to drive more safely in their senior years. More careful driving pays off for all who are on the streets.


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