As we get older, driving becomes one of the challenges we have to face. At some point, seniors must turn in the key and retire from driving completely.
Before this stage, it’s important to drive as safely as possible and to be aware of your abilities to drive a car.
For instance, physical weakness from aging may affect checking blind spots, alertness and response times.
Learn more about safe driving tips for seniors and how to create a plan for driving safely.
Five Driving Tips for Seniors and Suggestions
With making a few adjustments when you’re behind the wheel, these driving tips for seniors will help decrease your chances of getting into a collision or feeling in danger when driving.
Avoid Dangerous Conditions: Seniors are more at risk driving during these times:
- Driving At Night: It’s more difficult to see when driving in the dark than the daylight. You may have difficulty seeing how far of a distance the car in front or behind of you is. Overall, driving in the dark gives you less time to process and react to your surroundings.
- Inclement Weather: Driving in inclement weather, such as snow or flooding, makes it difficult to control your vehicle.
- Rush Hour: With an increased number of cars and impatient drivers, rush hour is one of the most dangerous times for anyone to drive, especially seniors.
Understand Your Limits
At the age of being senior, you won’t be able to drive how you used to. It’s important to be realistic about your limitations in order to be safe. Some of these limitations include:
- Using your breaks earlier: This will help prevent you from doing a hard stop, as well as increase awareness of your surroundings.
- Increasing your distance: If you tailgate a car as a senior citizen, it increases the chances of you getting into a collision. Giving yourself plenty of space between you and nearby cars will increase awareness of your surroundings.
- Avoid busy areas: While driving in a busy area, the chances of getting into a collision increases. Try to find an alternative to avoid the busy congestion.
Schedule Regular Hearing and Vision Tests
- Being able to see and hear declines with age. It’s necessary to use both of these senses when driving, or else you will be putting yourself in danger. For instance, if an ambulance or fire truck is driving by, it’s important you can hear these vehicles so you can be more cautious.
- Some common-age vision related problems that seniors develop is cataracts or glaucoma. Talk to your doctor about how frequently you should be examined for these senses. It’s useful to catch health problems that occur earlier on than later.
Take Your Health Into Account
Your physical and mental health changes as you age. These changes affect how you operate a vehicle. Some of these changes are due to:
- Pain in your joints
- Chronic conditions
Take a Mature Driving Course
To take safety to the next level for driving as a senior, enroll in a mature driver safety course, such as the program Seniors for Safe Driving. These programs will help you refresh your memory for the road and boost your confidence while driving. In these courses you will learn issues related to:
- Road signs
- Traffic violations
- Cell phones
- Avoiding distracting driving
When To Be Concerned About Senior Drivers
To remain safe while at the wheel, it’s important to recognize when physical and mental changes from age affect your driving skills.
Recognizing these will keep you and others surrounding you safe. Driving behaviors you should watch out for are:
- Driving too fast or slow
- Difficulty judging the distance of cars ahead or behind you
- Unsafe lane changes
- Failing to stop at stop signs or lights
Create a Plan
Once a senior decides they need to take better initiative of their driving, you will need to have a plan in order to do so. Below are some aspects you will want to consider for what happens next:
- Consider taking a mature driving course to get more experienced before driving confidently on the road
- Decide what times are no longer safe to drive
- Make changes to your driving position
- Discuss with your doctor what medications may affect you while operating a vehicle
If a senior decides to stop driving, the next steps you would take is:
- Surrender your license
- Cancel your car insurance
- Find alternate methods of transportation, such as:
At WV Caring, we believe that everyone should have the option to age healthy. Everyone should have the ability to experience life to the fullest for as long as possible.
For people with advanced illnesses, they may feel that it is a challenge to do so. Through our palliative and hospice care services, people with advanced illnesses have the opportunity to do so.
We want our patients to continue to do activities they enjoy. Our care team manages pain and symptoms to give our patients the best quality of life.
If you have any questions about our hospice or palliative care services or just want to talk, please give us a call at 1-866-656-9790.
Department of Motor Vehicles. (n.d.). Elderly Driver Safety. Retrieved from: