Aging drivers who want to remain safe on the roads must be aware of new challenges they may face and find ways to adjust.
For example, senior drivers might find it more difficult to turn their heads to watch for oncoming traffic. Braking at a moment’s notice may be more difficult due to physical changes.
It’s also smart to take advantage of some of the new technology that makes driving a car easier. Features like adjustable power seats, a low door threshold and adjustable foot pedals are amenities that can make driving safer for anyone.
Bonus features like heated seats can reduce driving discomfort while backup cameras can increase driving proficiency.
According to edmunds.com, the best vehicle to accommodate senior drivers include features that support upper and lower mobility issues, reduced stature, weight gain, arthritis and vision impairment.
Features like adjustable lumbar support, large wide-angle mirrors and large windows are also a big plus. Parking aides such as backup cameras and front and rear parking sensors can reduce the need for painful twisting and turning, according to edmunds.com.
Florida Fine Cars checked in with Mayo Clinic to find out the best ways aging drivers can stay safe. Here’s the well-grounded advice we received:
7 tips from the Mayo Clinic to help seniors drive safely
- Stay physically active. A physically active driver will find it easier to turn the steering wheel, look over their shoulder and react with greater speed. Drivers should remain active by walking, stretching or doing strength exercises to remain physically fit, the Mayo Clinic suggests.
- Schedule regular vision and hearing tests. Vision and hearing can decline with age, so it’s important to have both checked annually to remain safe on the road. Certain vision-related ailments like macular degeneration, glaucoma and cataracts can make it difficult to drive at night or even see properly during the day. Hearing issues could pose a safety risk for a driver who could not hear a train horn or the wail of an ambulance siren. Getting such medical conditions treated can reduce the risk of an accident.
- Address chronic health conditions. Ongoing health issues such as diabetes, epilepsy or a heart condition must be properly regulated to avoid a medical emergency on the road that could cause a traffic accident. Taking care of your health not only protects you but other drivers on the road, who could be affected if you are unable to safely control your own vehicle.
- Know your limitations. If your eyesight is poor, choose a vehicle with larger, easier-to-read dials on the dashboard or one that has safety features that help you change lanes and manage your blind spot.
- Drive when the roads are in good condition. Senior drivers can improve their driver safety by driving during the day. Remember, rain and snow can make driving treacherous.
- Stay focused. Distracted driving is one of the most common causes of accidents. Stay off your cell phone, plan your route, and keep your eyes on the road. If you are worried about getting lost, program your GPS to help you stay on track.
- Stay current. Update your driving skills regularly so you know your strengths and weaknesses. Take a refresher course if you need one, and if you feel unsafe behind the wheel, stop driving. With ride services like Uber and Lyft, taxis and public transportation, a ride is just a phonecall away.
(Source: The Mayo Clinic)
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