Driving is a cornerstone of independence for many people, but it also can be dangerous to manage, especially for elderly drivers. However, there are strategies to implement in order to maintain an effective driver technique, and for those who are finding it difficult to drive, being proactive and working on your driving skills will help you build your confidence and your skills. Driving requires more than just a working knowledge of the laws and regulations of the road; you will need to take your physical reactions into accounts – such as your reaction time during the fast-paced action of driving and the physical movement of your limbs to manipulate the car. If you are finding these physical movements difficult, consider the following guidelines to improve your driving form.
If you are finding you are having some difficulty on the road, or just want to receive a discount on your car insurance, consider updating your driving skills with a driving course. Your local community education centers and local organizations for skill programs may offer courses that specifically serve seniors.
Keeping your body physically fit is an excellent way to stay safe on the road. Driving requires strength and dexterity, using your strength to turn the steering wheel and dexterity to maneuver – checking your mirrors, changing lanes, and parking. Create a daily exercise routine and look for creative ways to stay active. Leg work, body-weight squats, and lunges will help you increase your balance and strength in your core which will help you get in and out of the car. Walking for 30 minutes a day will maintain your cardiovascular health and add stamina to your overall body condition. Finally, develop a stretching routine after you work out to increase flexibility will help with checking your surroundings while driving.
Schedule Senses Tests
As some senses may decrease in their efficiency with age, making an annual appointment with your primary care physician for your hearing and vision can be very important. Being hearing impaired can be dangerous as you will not be able to hear car communication from other drivers, including emergency vehicles. Vision problems can limit your ability to drive safely, especially at night or in bad weather. Getting annual tests done to ensure that your senses will not impair your driving will keep you, your loved ones, and other drivers safe.
Drive Only During Good Conditions
Based on your own comfort and preferences, you can consider driving only during good driving conditions. Driving in good clear weather during the day on familiar paths is optimal for older drivers. Avoid driving during bad weather, low visibility, or unfamiliar paths without a navigator to help with new directions. In addition, consider your own condition, do not drive while tired, dizzy, or upset. And never drive after drinking alcohol or under the influence of any substances, including mind-altering medication. Make sure you are discussing any potential side effects, such as dizziness or drowsiness, with your doctor. Drugs, even those that are prescribed by your doctor, can impair driving and driver safety.
Distracted driving is a frequent cause of avoidable accidents. Be proactive and plan ahead to limit distractions on the road. Make sure you have your route planned ahead and have it inputted into the GPS before you start driving. Ensure you have your phone on silent and out of sight to minimize distracting pop-up messages.
Staying safe while driving begins before you even get behind the steering wheel. Following a daily exercise routine and staying up to date with all your doctor’s appointments will ensure you are in top form to be the best driver you can be.