Driving is one of those activities that can grow more challenging with age. You are familiar with the roads, and you’ve navigated them for years. Yet, you notice an increase in slipups while behind the wheel. Although the freedom of driving is difficult to give up, prioritizing safety is also essential.
Older drivers have high crash rates
Your age does not signal the end of your driving years. After all, over 40 million adults aged over 65 actively driving on America’s roads. It’s wise, however, to stay alert to any physical changes and adjust your driving habits accordingly for continued safety on the road.
A report from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) highlights the importance of being more vigilant as you age. In 2021, about 66% of car accident fatalities involved older drivers. Additionally, almost 540 older adults succumb to crash-related injuries each day.
Precautions older adults can take to ensure safe driving
It’s essential to prioritize safety on the road for yourself and others. Recognizing when to seek professional opinion or medical attention can be a responsible and proactive decision. As your body evolves, it’s completely natural to make adjustments that may help improve your quality of life. To ensure stay safe on the road, consider taking the following precautions:
- Take regular vision and hearing tests
- Be aware of medicine side effects that may affect driving
- Exercise regularly to maintain health and improve focus
- Stick to well-lit and safe routes
- Refresh your driving skills through defensive driving courses
- Avoid distractions while driving
- Leave safe distances between you and other drivers
When is it time to give up driving?
Deciding to stop driving is one that requires thorough personal reflection. Watch for warning signs: frequent close calls, trouble focusing or hand or leg problems that impair your driving skills. However, it’s not always easy to recognize these problems. An honest discussion with your loved ones or doctor can help you make this crucial decision.
Your age alone shouldn’t restrict you from driving. But it’s also important to acknowledge the increased risks that accompany going into the later years. When the signs suggest that driving has become unsafe, considering alternative forms of transportation may be the responsible thing to do.