Americans are living longer and want to maintain their independence. By staying current with new car technology, keeping driving skills up to date and caring for our bodies and minds we don’t have to lose that independence.
Driving consists of perception, decision and action.
- Perception – eyesight begins to diminish as early as our 40s. So, to keep perception sharp, get your vision tested at least once a year, drive only when visibility is good, brighten your headlights, modify your vehicle (for example with special mirrors or cameras) and, if necessary, use a spotter.
- Decision – seniors have a leg up due to the years of experience with driving, but they still need to stay up to date – consider taking a classroom refresher course. There are refresher courses specifically for seniors that focus on maneuvers that have proven statistically problematic for older drivers.
- Action – our reflexes slow with time. So, modify your vehicle to make it as comfortable as possible, keep your car in top working order, practice with any unfamiliar safety technology.
Also exercise your body and your brain and watch your medications.
Around age 75, crash rates involving seniors start to rise. Instead of waiting for loved ones to intervene or until you have an accident, monitor your own driving habits. It doesn’t mean you have to hang up your keys, but it does mean you should take an honest look at your situation. Some seniors reduce or eliminate their nighttime driving. You can obtain a professional in-car assessment of your driving skills. Then you may be recommended to take a class, do in car training or other helpful steps.