By the year 2025, one-fourth of all the drivers in America will be 65 or older and according to statistics, those aged 75 and above have higher risks for car accidents, same with teenagers. So far, the accident rates among this age bracket almost match those of the teenagers which have the highest number in the US.
However, unlike teenagers, car accidents in older adults are usually due to age. It’s normal for our driving abilities, motor reflexes and senses to change as we age that’s why it is important to pay more attention, understand the risks, seek alternative methods and make appropriate adjustments.
If you are a boomer or concerned about a loved one who is at risk, here are some tips and guidelines to help you drive safely.
Take care of your vision.
Impaired vision is a very common cause of accidents, not just for aging adults but for all ages. Have your eyes checked every year and make sure that your corrective lenses are correct and current. Discuss with your ophthalmologist about the right glasses to improve vision especially at night when there are glares from street and headlights.
Have your hearing checked regularly.
While hearing problems aren’t really a major cause of accidents, it’s still a must to get your hearing tested every three years after you reach the age of 50. Not hearing the sound of cars accelerating next to you, emergency sirens or the honking of a horn are important concerns. If you have hearing aids prescribed to you, make sure you wear them while driving.
Check your medications.
Certain medications affect senses and reflexes so it is a must for you to check with your healthcare providers whether it’s still advisable for you to drive or take certain precautions. If you have new medications, it’s best to see how you react to it first before attempting to drive.
Maintain the distance.
It’s normal for your reflexes and range of motion to change so to boost reaction time, just increase the distance between your car and the car in front of you.
Opt for other alternatives.
Just because you have a higher risk for accidents doesn’t mean that you need to isolate yourself or get stuck at home, especially for far destinations. You can opt for car-hailing services like Uber and Lyft. Also, never hesitate to ask your family members to drive for you.
Purchase appropriate car accessories.
You may not have the resources to buy a new car but you can purchase appropriate car accessories to make driving easier and comfier such as seat cushions, pedal extensions and corrective mirrors.
Know your limits.
If certain driving situations make you uncomfortable such as bad weather, fast-moving traffic or during the evenings, don’t force yourself to drive. Give up the keys and go for other alternatives.