Old Age Brings Special Driving Hazards

In 2012, there were almost 36 million licensed drivers aged 65 years or older in the United States, up by 34% from 1999. Maybe you have a relative who is getting older, but who is still able to drive. While driving allows them to stay mobile and independent, it is important for older drivers to realize potential weaknesses in their senses and/or motor judgment, so that they can better prepare themselves to be safe, defensive drivers.

Often, older drivers face challenges of slightly impaired senses of sight and/or hearing. Some older drivers may also experience slowed reaction times, which can make it difficult for them to quickly react and adapt to changes in road conditions when driving in inclement weather.

Can older drivers learn to compensate for diminished hearing, sight, and reaction time? Yes. Before getting behind the wheel, they can think about how to deal with driving situations that most frequently trip up older drivers, such as how to deal with roundabouts, stop sign priorities at four-way stops, proper signaling of turns and lane changes, and interpretation of modern pavement markings. Also, it can be a good idea to plan a route before setting out to drive, as well as to drive during daylight hours.


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