Since January 2011, nearly 10,000 Americans turn 65 every day, joining the fastest growing age group in the nation. According to a recent American Automobile Association survey of that booming population, nearly half of seniors worry about losing their freedom and mobility when the time comes for them to transition from driver to passenger.
From understanding how vision changes can affect one's ability to drive at night, to researching the effects certain medications can have on one's driving ability, it's important to get the facts about driving for seniors. Use these tips from AAA to help ensure you and your family members are driving safely:
Reaction times can be slower for seniors as well. But preventative measures can go a long way.
No matter how many years a driver has been on the road, a refresher course can help reinforce the basics such as identifying road signs, as well as provide information on updated driving rules and new vehicle technologies.
When following other vehicles, seniors should increase the distance between their car and the car in front of them, to allow more time to react to sudden braking.
Eliminating distractions in the vehicle and avoiding heavy traffic can also help seniors identify emergency sirens, and avoiding driving at night is another safer option for seniors.
Make sure you have at least 10 to 12 inches between your chest and the steering wheel.
TIPS FOR FAMILY MEMBERS
If you're concerned about the safety of a senior family member, look to resources such as their doctor or the state Department of Motor Vehicles, that can help identify their capacity to drive, and find transportation resources to help them manage daily needs:
- If your family member has received two traffic citations, warnings or been involved in two collisions or "near misses" within a two-year period, it may be time to look for other forms of transportation.
- Make sure your family member speaks with their doctor and pharmacist about prescription and over-the-counter medications that may impair their ability to drive safely.
When seated properly, you should be able to see the ground in front of your car within 12 to 15 feet and 1 1/2 car widths left and right.
Visit www.car-fit.org to assess the safety of your vehicle, find the proper seat and mirror adjustments and more.
To help older drivers and their families deal with driving and mobility challenges related to aging, AAA has launched a new website, www.SeniorDriving.AAA. com.
Source: Family Features