How to Be Safe on the Road as You Get Older

April 19th, 2013 by

Elderly-Man-DrivingAs we get older, our driving habits change as the bodies we have start to slow down. The senses we use to drive get duller, and weaker bodies become more prone to injury in the event of a crash. Thanks to advances in medical science, improvements in the food we eat, and other factors, crashes involving older drivers are down as people stay fitter longer. As you get older, it’s important to be cognizant of your driving as a service to yourself and other drivers.

Driving After Retirement

After retirement, people’s driving habits drastically change. They stop having to deal with rush hour traffic and drive more for leisure. Most people over the age of 70 still have driver’s licenses, and with more and more baby boomers retiring each day, there are many more older drivers than ever on the roads. Driving is an important part of staying independent, but it’s important to stay safe on the road as your abilities change.

Problems Older Drivers Face

Driving is a much more complex process than we realize. Older drivers have to deal with worsening vision, slower thinking, and lesser physical capability than younger drivers, which can make simple maneuvers more challenging. Drivers that are older have a lot more trouble with certain aspects like changing lanes and checking blind spots, making a left turn, and moving through intersections. If you are aware of your deficiencies and the problems older drivers face on the road, then you can be more careful and drive safer in those specific situations.

Older Drivers and Crashes

Older drivers tend to be good at policing themselves in situations like night driving, but they become at risk for other types of crashes. They are more likely to be involved in crashes where one driver hits the side of another car. A common situation is where an older driver decides to merge and can’t properly gauge the speed of the car in the other lane or they are in the blind spot.

The crash rate is down among people over the age of 65, which seems to indicate older drivers are doing a better job of being aware of their physical limitations. Be extra cautious in situations you know you aren’t good with anymore or avoid them all together.