Driving is sometimes challenging and risky for seniors. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found that the risk of personal injury and death from car accidents increases with age. Safety requires more than obeying traffic laws and reading road signs; senior drivers must adjust for health and physical conditions to improve driving. Follow these three tips to stay safe on the road.
1. Ensure you have good vision
Vision tends to worsen with age. Impaired vision from glaucoma, cataracts or macular degeneration makes it riskier to drive. Some steps to take to have healthy eyesight include:
- Get your vision checked by an eye doctor every one or two years.
- Ask your optometrist or eye doctor if you need a new prescription for glasses or contact lenses. Wear corrective lenses as required.
- Clean your mirrors, windshield and headlights.
- Drive mostly during the daytime.
- Make sure your seat is high enough to see 10 feet of the road in front of your car.
Florida requires drivers 80 years old or older to pass a vision test when renewing their driver license. If you do not pass the vision test, you will need to get an eye exam. This helps reduce accidents, injuries and deaths among senior drivers.
2. Get your hearing checked
Hearing is crucial to anticipating events such as approaching trains and emergency vehicles. Because hearing often declines with age as well, it is important to make sure your hearing is good enough for safe driving by doing the following:
- Get your hearing tested every three years.
- Get a hearing aid if necessary and use it as required.
- Stay alert for flashing lights on emergency vehicles because you may not hear sirens.
- Keep inside noise to a minimum by limiting radio and conversations.
Consult with your doctor as to exactly how often you should have tests. Even if you assume your vision and hearing are healthy, following a regular schedule can help catch and correct problems before they get serious.
3. Drive in optimal conditions
You can improve your safety by driving when it is easiest. For example, you might limit your driving time during good weather, daytime, in familiar areas and on quiet roads. When optimal conditions are not present, consider using public transportation or delaying your trip.
Following these tips can help prevent being injured in a car accident. If you have been in a car accident, consult a personal injury attorney who understands and represents senior victims.