Senior Driving: Talking About Safety
Driving provides a sense of freedom. But with that freedom comes great responsibility. If you have concerns about the driving safety of a loved one who is aging, having a conversation about safe driving can feel daunting.
With the Baby Boomer generation hitting retirement age, there are many senior drivers on the road. The U.S. Department of Transportation reports that there are 37.2 million licensed drivers aged 60 and older. There are some warning signs you may notice if a loved one is exhibiting signs of unsafe driving, including:
- Being easily distracted while behind the wheel
- Having lots of close calls and near misses
- Excessive speed or lack of speed for the road conditions
- Hitting curbs when in reverse or making right turns
- An increase in dents or scrapes on the car, mailbox or garage
- Challenges moving into or staying in the desired traffic lane
- Slower response times to unexpected issues on the road
- Lack of confidence in their own driving ability
If you notice multiple unsafe driving behaviors, there are ways for older adults to improve their driving experiences and stay safe. Here are some things to discuss:
Keep distractions to a minimum. Especially if reaction time might be slowing, it is important to avoid activities like eating, adjusting the radio station or taking a phone call while driving. When behind the wheel, silence the phone, wait til your destination to nosh and only change radio frequencies before you start your journey.
Strategize before you drive. Before you leave the driveway, know where you are going, including having specific directions to your destination. Adjust your seat, make sure your temperature is comfortable, place any belongings you are bringing securely in the back seat and leave yourself enough time to arrive without rushing.
Have an eye exam each year. This proactive measure can red flag changes in vision early, to help keep other drivers, pedestrians and bicycle riders safe while sharing the road.
With some help and planning, older adults can maintain their independence and enjoy their freedom on the road. CarePatrol has been supporting families and their loved ones for over 30 years, at no cost to the families we serve. We find the right senior care solutions. Reach out today to learn more about our services.