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Driving Safety for Senior Drivers

It’s normal for your driving habits to change as you get older. However, it’s important to plan ahead to ensure the safety of yourself and others on the road. There are several things you can do to promote safe driving techniques well into your senior years. This includes looking for warnings signs that could indicate that it’s time for you to stop driving temporarily or permanently. Learn about the risk factors that could potentially cause a vehicle accident for senior drivers living in Sacramento.

Warning Signs

There are numerous warning signs to look for that could mean you are no longer capable of driving safely. If you frequently have “close calls” or find scrapes and dents on your vehicle, mail box or garage door, these are common warning signs. Others include having trouble seeing road and traffic signs and misjudging gaps in traffics. If you become easily distracted while driving, have difficulty concentrating, respond slowly in certain scenarios or have been given multiple “warnings”, you could be putting yourself and others at risk.

Aging Affects

As you age, so does your strength, flexibility and coordination. These factors can have a big impact at your ability to drive safely. Leg pain can make it difficult to maneuver your foot from the gas pedal to the brake, while stiffness in your neck can make it difficult to look over your shoulder when changing lanes. Poor vision can make it harder to see road signal and markings, as well as pedestrians. As you age, your reaction time also slows, putting you in potential danger if you fail to spot vehicles emerging from streets or driveways. To drive, you need the strength to turn the wheel quickly and efficiently and the coordination to drive in a safe and smooth manner.

Defensive Driving

Growing older doesn’t mean you need to stop driving altogether. There are many things you can do to ensure safe travel. Driving defensively is key to maintain complete control over the vehicle. This includes avoiding distractions as you drive, such as digital music players and cell phones. It’s important to take those extra steps to be safe as you drive, such as leaving adequate space between yourself and other vehicles and braking early when there are vehicles stopped in front of you. This is especially important when driving in dangerous conditions, such as in rain when the roads can become slippery.

Alternatives

Occasionally, seniors may need to give up driving altogether to avoid potential accidents. Fortunately, there are many alternative modes of transportation for the senior community to utilize. Public transit can be found in nearly all locations and many offer reduced prices for older adults. Your community may offer shuttle service, especially for adults who require medical appointments. Private drivers and taxi services are also available at affordable prices. For some seniors, walking or cycling is the best option to get some regular physical exercise and lower your risk of a variety of conditions. Using these alternative transportation options reduces your risk of getting into a vehicle accident.