Everyone remembers the day they passed their road test and received their driver’s license. Getting a license opens up a world of options for drivers and provides them with a sense of independence that they didn’t have before.
If you received your license a long time ago, and are now a senior citizen driver, you may begin to notice certain limitations that could potentially impact your ability to operate a vehicle. While for some, driving at an advanced age may no longer be advised, most seniors can still enjoy the benefits of driving by taking a few extra precautions.
Jamaica Hospital’s Trauma Division is offering the following tips to senior drivers to help them avoid injury to themselves, other drivers or pedestrians while on the road.
- Have Your Vision and Hearing Checked Regularly – Be aware of any ocular conditions, such as cataracts, glaucoma, or macular degeneration that might affect your vision. If you wear glasses or contacts, make sure you wear them while driving. Similarly, if you require a hearing aid, make sure you don’t drive without one as it is an important device to help you hear car horns and emergency sirens.
- Be Aware of Other Health Factors – Pain or stiffness in the joints can limit mobility and your ability to check mirrors or turn your head. Chronic fatigue can be a problem, especially during long drives, and certain chronic conditions such as diabetes or seizure disorders can affect your safety. Side effects from medications can also impact driving and should be discussed with your doctor or pharmacist before driving.
- Know Your Limitations – As you age, it’s important to acknowledge that certain motor functions might not be as sharp as they once were and should be taken into consideration while on the road. It is advised that seniors should increase their following distance, use their brakes earlier, try to anticipate situations before they occur, and try to avoid highly trafficked areas when possible.
- Avoid Dangerous Driving Conditions – Controlling your car in inclement weather, such as rain or snow is more difficult and therefore should be avoided. Driving at night can also pose increased risks because reaction times are often affected during this time of day. Lastly, driving during rush hour presents additional opportunities for accidents to occur because other drivers tend to be more aggressive and inpatient. Under these conditions.
Getting older doesn’t mean that you can no longer drive. By following these tips, you can continue to drive without feeling as if you are a danger to yourself or others.
If however, you feel concerned about your ability to drive, it doesn’t mean you have to give up your independence. There are many car fare services and public transportation options that can still get you where you want to go.
All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.