Older Drivers – Tips To Keep Driving For Longer and Safely

How Seniors Can Keep Safe On The RoadAs you get older, the same reflexes and physical abilities you possessed when you were younger start to diminish. If you’re a senior driver on Australian roads, then you’ll need to be more aware of this fact and take into account that your reaction time might not be what it used to be, or that your eyesight, judgement and other faculties may not be quite as sharp as they once were. It’s just a natural part of aging.

With this in mind, in this article, we’ll take a look at some tips and advice that can keep you driving for longer and safely.

Schedule Regular Check Ups With Your Doctor

A positive step you can take on a regular basis is to visit your GP and undergo vision and hearing tests. Your doctor can determine whether these 2 vital senses are sufficiently working well enough to ensure safe driving or not. If not, a visit to an optometrist or hearing specialist may be advised.

Your doctor can also test things like your reflexes and other aspects of you physically to determine how adept you’ll be out on the roads.

Remain Physically Active and Get Regular Exercise

The more physically fit and active you remain, the better it will be for your driving. Not only does being physically active keep you in shape, it also improves reflexes, coordination and judgement. You’ll also find that it helps to keep you sharper mentally as well, being more focused and having an increased ability to concentrate for longer periods of time.

These are all important components for safe driving as much as for anything else, so remaining physically active on a daily basis is a positive step you can take so you can drive safely for longer.

When Driving, Account for the Fact That You’re Not At Your Peak

It doesn’t matter how good a driver you once were or still are, the fact that you’re getting older means you won’t be at your peak. That’s just a fact. For this reason, there are some simple steps you can take when out on the road that will ensure both your safety and the well being of others.

For starters, refrain from driving close to the car ahead of you. If the standard is to remain at least two car lengths behind, make it four lengths instead, so you have more time to react to sudden braking. Also consider adding larger mirrors or more mirrors to your car so it’s easier to see when reversing and parking, or when changing lanes.

Little steps like these can make a huge difference to the quality and safety of your driving.

Give Yourself Plenty Of Time

One of the most common causes of accidents is speeding, and one reason people are often speeding is because they are running late for something. Therefore, give yourself plenty of time if you have a meeting or an appointment of some sort. It’s better to arrive safe than not to arrive at all.

Plan out your day, where you need to go and what time you need to be there. Then, leave early so you can take your time and drive in a relaxed and safe manner. Rarely is there a reason anyone needs to speed, and you definitely won’t have to be tempted if you have time on your side.

Don’t Drive In Bad Weather If You Have a Choice

Driving in bad weather is hazardous for drivers of all ages and skill levels. Even Formula One drivers struggle with it. As a senior driver on Australian roads, if the weather is bad and you really don’t need to be somewhere, then simply stay home until the weather improves.

Driving at night during a storm is a real challenge. Everything is harder to see in wet conditions and the roads are naturally a lot more slippery.

If You’re Tired, Don’t Drive

Driving when really tired leads to poor concentration, slower reaction times and the possibility of falling asleep at the wheel. This can happen to anybody who is tired, but it’s even more prevalent in senior drivers.

The same goes for if you have an injury, such as an arm or leg injury that may hamper your ability to drive at your full capacity. Refrain from driving until the injury is no longer an issue.

Are You On Medication?

Certain medications, such as some pain killers, advise people not to drive when taking them as they cause drowsiness and hamper reaction times and your judgement ability. Many seniors are taking at least some form of medication for various ailments that come with age. Go through your meds and read the advisory notices on them. If in any doubt, consult with your doctor to determine whether it’s safe for you to drive while taking the meds or not.

Seek the Opinion of Other People

One way to determine what your driving is currently like and whether it’s up to par, is to take someone along for a drive with you, perhaps your son or daughter. Whether you tell them what the goal is beforehand or not is up to you, but once you’ve completed the drive, ask them for their opinion on your driving skills. They’ll soon tell you if they think you are unsafe.

Consider Updating Your Driving Skills

You might have developed a few bad driving habits over the years (we all do), or there might be something that your age is playing a part in that you’re not aware of.
Updating your driving skills can help to correct bad driving habits as well as point out some other inconsistencies that can also be rectified.
It’s well worth considering so you can stay driving safer for longer.

In Conclusion

There are numerous things you can do to make you a safer driver, no matter what your age. It’s all a matter of being aware that you are getting older, that your abilities are a little more restricted, and to seek the guidance and assistance of others.


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