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Essential driving tips for older adults

On Behalf of | Jun 28, 2024 | Firm News

Staying mobile is a key factor in maintaining independence as we age. However, retaining the ability to drive safely can become challenging. Old age can bring about physical changes that affect driving skills. For seniors behind the wheel, following some key guidelines can help ensure safe cruising on California’s roads.

Know your limits

Be honest about your capabilities. Vision may diminish, reflexes may slow and hearing might not be as sharp. If nighttime driving feels challenging, stick to daytime errands. Consider avoiding high-traffic areas like freeways or busy intersections if they cause you anxiety. There’s no shame in opting for shorter trips or asking for help with errands.

Adjust your ride

Make changes to your car to improve comfort and safety: adjust the seat for a clear road view, ensure easy seatbelt buckling and allow for comfortable pedal reach. Make sure mirrors are positioned to minimize blind spots. Consider driving a car with advanced safety features like automatic braking, lane departure warnings and blind spot monitors.

Try new technologies

Car manufacturers now offer features designed to enhance safety, such as lane departure warnings, blind-spot monitoring and automatic emergency braking. Consider exploring these features during a test drive to see if they could enhance your driving confidence.

Avoid distractions

About 20% of all fatal crashes involve drivers aged 65 years and older. Stay focused on the road and minimize distractions while driving. Avoid using your phone, eating or being occupied with other activities while driving. Avoid multitasking. Pull over to a safe location if you need to adjust the radio or GPS.

Schedule regular checkups

Health is paramount to safe driving. Regular checkups with your doctor are important to monitor any health conditions that could affect driving. Poor vision or hearing can significantly impact your ability to respond to driving conditions. Additionally, discuss any medications you’re taking that might cause drowsiness or blurred vision.

Take a refresher course

California requires drivers aged 70 and over to renew their licenses in person every five years. This includes a vision and written knowledge test. Consider enrolling in a driver refresher course specifically designed for older adults. These courses can update you on the latest traffic laws, introduce new driving techniques and help you assess your driving skills.

However, despite taking proactive measures, accidents can still happen. If you or a loved one is an older driver who is suffering from the aftermath of a car accident, consider reaching out to a legal professional who can help advocate for your rights. Our firm is available for you to contact and discuss possible legal options.