Safe driving hacks for senior drivers
Everyone ages differently, so it’s tough to say if and when someone should stop driving. What we do know is that as we get older our vision, hearing, reflexes and strength wane, making it more difficult to safely control a car. One day we may be chauffeured by self-driving cars, but in the meantime, here are some simple measures you can take to keep safe.
Keep your eyes and ears in check. Regular opticians appointments are important to ensure your glasses or lenses are the correct prescription. If you wear hearing aids, check you have them in before driving and be mindful when opening car windows, as the draughts can inhibit their effectiveness.
Invest in a GPS. At any age, GPS devices are helpful and can ensure we don't get unnerved or flustered if we take a wrong turning! What's more, they can re-direct you through poor traffic and provide alternative routes away from busy main roads.
Change your habits. Stick to daylight hours, good weather conditions and avoid peak travel times. Driving at night and in poor weather can be really challenging and uncomfortable, so where possible avoid putting yourself in these situations.
Take a driver assessment. Keep your local driving body updated and take a driver assessment or refresher course. This will give you lots of confidence and peace of mind that you're totally up to date with driving best practices.
Stay physically active. As we age, our muscles and joints can lose strength and flexibility. Regular exercise such as walking, stretching and body-weight training can help to alleviate this and improve our overall agility.
Tap into technology. Driverless cars may be a few years away, but many vehicles already feature innovations that make driving easier, so consider upgrading your existing model. Look-out for handy features such as integrated GPS and automatic hazard warnings, as well as more cutting-edge functions including automatic braking, detection of driver drowsiness, intelligent speed adaption, advanced night vision, and adaptive cruise control that automatically adjusts speed relative to the car in front.
Finally, apply the little and often rule! If we don't do anything regularly, we can quickly lose our skills and confidence and driving is no different. Even if it's a quick trip to a friend's house or a supermarket, try and keep your skills up.