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Behavior Aging Awareness Health Tips

Four Top Safety Tips For Senior Drivers

5 months ago

3003  0
Posted on Feb 19, 2024, 2 p.m.

As we age, driving becomes more challenging both mentally and physically. The stress of staying alert and focused on the roads in busy traffic at night, in poor weather conditions, and with often unpredictable road users can be difficult for anyone – and takes its toll on our minds and bodies. Therefore, maintaining both physical and mental well-being is a crucial aspect of safe driving, especially for those who are more likely to struggle with quick reflexes, vision, hearing, and mobility.

With road collisions contributing to thousands of injuries and deaths each year, we must all do our part to ensure we drive responsibly. Optimal mental and physical health is key to enjoying a harmonious journey on the road, so let’s explore some key safety tips for senior drivers.

Attend regular health check-ups

There are certain visual capabilities everyone must have in order to drive legally, but it’s each individual’s responsibility to schedule regular eye tests. Senior drivers should have their eyesight tested at least every two years, and always wear any prescribed glasses when driving. 

It’s equally important to attend regular routine health check-ups too, including mental health assessments, as conditions such as arthritis and dementia can severely impact driving capabilities. Regular visits to healthcare professionals can help identify and address any cognitive or emotional challenges that may impact driving abilities before they jeopardize your safety on the road.

Monitor the health of your vehicle, too

Just as we need reassurance that our minds and bodies are working as they should, it’s important to understand what’s going on under the bonnet of our cars, too. Ignoring warning lights or failing to do regular checks can put your safety on the road at risk – as well as that of your passengers and other road users. 

A simple car maintenance check should include things like oil levels, tire pressure, screen wash, and air conditioning. These basic checks should be done at least once a month, but should always be carried out before long car journeys to give you peace of mind on the road. When we know that our vehicles are in a healthy state, we’re less likely to be stressed and anxious when getting behind the wheel, contributing to a smoother journey all around.

Manage stress

Stress can wreak havoc on us both mentally and physically, and makes all of our daily tasks more difficult – including driving. No matter your age, you should only get behind the wheel when you feel focused, calm, and able to concentrate. Before you start the engine, always check in with yourself and take a moment to assess your state of mind. Practicing some deep breathing exercises, mindfulness techniques or meditation can all help to center the mind and lower stress and anxiety levels.

As a senior citizen, sleep issues can begin to become more common. Getting enough sleep is paramount for safe driving, and seniors should be aiming for around eight hours per night. Lack of sleep can delay reaction times and also make you more likely to fall asleep behind the wheel, so be sure to both be of a calm and collected disposition and well-rested before setting off.

Limit distractions

Minimizing distractions when driving is an essential part of safety advice for all road users, but it can be hard to ignore a notification while driving. Avoid temptation by putting your phone out of reach when driving – keep it in your handbag or the glove box, for example. Music can be another form of distraction whilst driving; keeping the radio at a quieter volume will help you to stay focused on the road. 

You should also plan to leave early so that you can break longer trips into shorter distances and take regular breaks to refresh yourself as a senior driver. This reduces strain on both your mind and body and helps maintain mental alertness.

By incorporating these safety tips and prioritizing both physical and mental well-being, senior drivers can continue to enjoy their journeys on the road safely.

This article was provided to WHN by Hannah Williams, who is a researcher, digital content and media provider, consultant, and health advocate. 

As with anything you read on the internet, this article should not be construed as medical advice; please talk to your doctor or primary care provider before changing your wellness routine. This article is not intended to provide a medical diagnosis, recommendation, treatment, or endorsement. These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. 

Opinion Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy of WHN/A4M. Any content provided by guest authors is of their own opinion and is not intended to malign any religion, ethic group, club, organization, company, individual, or anyone or anything.

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