It is an unfortunate truth that as we get older our driving ability diminishes. This has nothing to do with personal ability; aging slows our reflexes and makes it harder for us to react quickly to a hazard or notice a change in traffic lights straight away.
This being said, elderly people are perfectly capable of driving and your age shouldn’t prevent you from being able to drive wherever you want. With a few extra precautions you’ll be ready to take to the road once more and feel confident in the driver’s seat once again.
Listen to criticism
We can all be accused of being stubborn from time to time, and it might be difficult to realise that you’re doing anything wrong when you’re driving, but if friends and family start to express concern for your driving ability, listen to them.
They’re only criticising your driving because they care about you and believe you could be putting yourself and others at risk. This can help you take a good, hard luck at your style of driving and help you better recognise where you’re going wrong.
Stay on top of your health
To keep you in the best possible shape for driving you should have regular checks of your sight and hearing from your doctor.
If you wear a hearing aid, be careful of drafts let in from open windows. They can affect how effective your hearing aid is and could impede your hearing at crucial moments e.g. when an ambulance is approaching.
It is also highly recommended that you get plenty of sleep in order to be an effective driver. This is especially true for long drives, where it is common for people to fall asleep at the wheel and cause a crash.
Be defensive in your driving
This can simply mean creating a bigger gap between you and the car in front of you. Be as conservative as you can be without going too slow and you’ll greatly reduce the chances of an accident. Remember, braking distance is the length of two cars on dry roads and the length of four cars on icy roads.
Being defensive can also mean making sure there are no distractions in the car while you’re driving. One of the leading causes of car crashes, regardless of the drivers age, is distractions while driving. Whether you’re talking on the phone, trying to read a map or even trying to key in a destination on a GPS, don’t do it while you’re driving. Pull over to the side to perform these checks.
Don’t take unnecessary risks
This can include speeding to beat a red light or trying to merge on a busy highway. If you want to try something, but don’t feel 100% confident about doing it – then don’t. Understand your limitations and alter your driving style around them to reduce the chances of an accident.
For instance, if your vision isn’t as good as it could be you might want to limit your driving to daylight hours.
The seconds of time you could save by travelling at risky speeds or swerving your way into a busy line of traffic isn’t worth the potential injury it could cause if a crash were to happen.
It’s also a good idea to regularly clean your windscreen and side mirrors to make sure you have the absolute best visibility before beginning a journey.