Old age comes with some issues that can increase the inherent danger of driving. As a senior driver, you should take the relevant steps to minimize the risk of an accident. Below are some precautions that can help.
Don’t Drive In Challenging Conditions
Some things increase the risk of accidents for everyone. However, the risks affect senior drivers more than others because the latter often already have frailties due to old age. Examples of challenging conditions include:
- Poor visibility due to rain, snow, smog, dust, or darkness
- Slippery road surfaces due to rainfall, snowfall, or ice
- Strong winds
Plan your driving routes and times to avoid such dangerous conditions.
Manage Your Health Conditions
Some age-related health problems increase the risk of accidents. Examples of such health problems include:
- Vision impairment
- Hearing impairment
- Heart problems
Those who manage their health issues continue to drive safely. For example, if you have a hearing problem, you can get hearing aids so that you can continue to listen to the environment around you and stay safe.
Maintain Physical Agility and Alertness
A physically fit and alert person can react to road dangers faster than other people. Take these measures so that you are always alert behind the wheel:
- Get adequate sleep, especially the night before a long drive.
- Stay physically active – your doctor or a physiotherapist can help you identify safe exercises for you.
- Take regular breaks on long drives.
- Eat well-balanced meals.
Stop driving and take some rest if you feel drowsy or lethargic at any time on the road.
Drive the Right Car
You shouldn’t struggle with your car. Choose a car that you can easily handle. Examples include:
- Cars with an automatic transmission
- Cars with power steering
- Cars with power brakes
In addition, you should maintain your car to ensure every system is functional. For example, malfunctioning windshield wipers can leave your windshield dirty and interfere with your visibility.
Understand Your Medications’ Side Effects
Some medications induce drowsiness. Examples include:
- Muscle relaxants
- Medications for Parkinson’s disease
Understand all the side effects of your medications so that you can know how they affect your risk on the road. Plan your driving so that you only drive once the effects of your medication wane. Note that you should not have to determine whether you are drowsy. Ask your physician how long the side effects last.
Increase Your Following Distance
Reduced reaction time is a common issue for some senior drivers. Whenever you are on the road, leave an adequate following distance so that you can stop or change lanes should the car in front stop without warning.
Take Defensive Driving Classes
Defensive driving classes, especially those that target seniors, can also improve your road safety. The classes will teach you:
- How to avoid distractions
- How to deal with difficult driving conditions
- How to deal with age-related frailties that affect driving safety
As a bonus, many insurance companies give discounts to senior drivers who complete these classes.
Acknowledge Your Limitations
Human nature means that many people don’t like to admit their weaknesses. However, you risk yourself and other road users if you deny your weaknesses, such as hearing or vision impairment. Acknowledge your limitations so that you can take measures to deal with them. For example, once you learn that you can’t drive 300 miles without rest, you probably shouldn’t attempt it again.
Hopefully, you won’t experience any car accident in your senior years. However, in case of a car accident, consult an experienced lawyer to review your case and advise you on the way forward. Contact Hernandez Law Offices for a free initial consultation on your car accident case.