Driving at an Older Age
As the body ages, there are a variety of daily activities that become more and more difficult for the body to perform. Driving an automobile safely and effectively is no exception. Though there is no set age for people to start losing their ability to drive safely, it is a common occurrence that the mind and body slow down more and more as the years go by. Thus, it is important to account for important factors when you're an older driver.
One of the most common effects of aging effects on the body is the loss of cognition and coordination. Aging slows down the time it takes for the brain to send and receive signals from the body, so expect a loss of hand-eye coordination and reaction time, as well as losing the ability to multi-task effectively.
Driving is not the most simple of tasks, considering the fact that it takes constant attention to multiple aspects of the road to do so safely. When it becomes difficult to comprehend what is happening on the road and react to it in a timely manner, then there are some precautions that should be taken to prevent anyone from getting hurt, especially yourself:
- Plan exactly where you plan on going, and make sure you are familiar with the route you are taking
- Lengthen the distance between you and the cars in front of you
- Avoid left turns
- Keep concentrated and avoid distractions
Being aware of declining vision is essential to being a safe driver. The eye loses the ability to focus quickly and absorb light effectively as the body ages, affecting reaction time and cognitive processes. It becomes especially difficult see all the obstacles the road can provide. Make sure to:
- Get your eyes checked for cataracts or loss of vision frequently
- Keep clean mirrors and glass, inside and out
- Turn your head to check blind spots when changing lanes
Most senior citizens are required to take medications to help them get them through the day. It is absolutely imperative to ensure that these medications won't have a side-effect on the body that might endanger the person who plans on operating a car. Take these steps to make sure you don't make a possibly fatal mistake if you drive while under the influence of your medication:
- Ask your doctor about possible side-effects of your medication, and if these side-effect will hinder your ability to drive
- Read the fine print on your medication bottle
- Do NOT drive if you have taken medication and you feel drowzy, disoriented, or sleepy
Driving requires several motor skills that can be improved by simply being physical. Exercising regularly can help improve the driver's flexibility, reaction time, reflexes, and strength. To further build your motor skills, try working your brain some too. Solve puzzles, play board games, fill out crosswords; anything that makes you think and get's your brain going.