Older Drivers - General Safety Advice for Older Drivers.

Are older drivers bad drivers? 

No! This is a myth, probably spread by the young and impatient. As you get older most people become risk averse and therefore much more cautious. However, older drivers must ensure that this natural cautiousness does not interfere with their ability to drive smoothly and safely and at the proper speed.

No one likes the thought of growing older; in fact for many, looking in the mirror is a reflection of our younger years and not our true age. While 60 maybe the new 40, we do need to recognise that as we grow older, we change, our body's change, some of us become hard of hearing, others, their vision declines, and for most, our reflexes and reactions slow down.  Even though it seems so simple, driving is a complex skill. Your ability to drive safely can be affected by changes in your physical, emotional and mental condition. 

Growing older tends to creep up on you, certain tasks you used to do spontaneously now take more thought and a little longer to complete. Gaining a few aches and pains as we age does not mean that we have to give up driving. However, it does mean we need to accept that little individual changes do have a cumulative affect on our capacity to drive smoothly and safely.

When driving - Do these symptoms sound familiar?

  • Can no longer act as quickly or decisively.
  • It often takes longer to understand what you see and hear.
  • Car headlight glare appears much stronger and more dazzling than before.
  • Difficulty changing focus from distant to near objects and conversely.
  • Eyes adapt more slowly to darkness and see less clearly at night and during sunset and dawn.
  • Eyes get very tired after driving
  • Difficulty in accurately distinguishing traffic light colours.
  • Suffer more eye strain particularly looking through wet windscreens.
  • Judging distance and speed requires more effort.
  • Co-ordination falters when using the gears, clutch and brakes in unison.
  • Reduced attention span and inclined to be easily distracted.
  • Tend to drift or have difficulty staying in the correct lane.
  • Increased nervousness when driving.
  • Have experienced minor accidents or near misses.
  • Turning your head and neck causes pain and is more difficult to do.
  • Hips, legs and feet ache, especially after long journeys.
  • Driving exhausts you.
  • You suffer cramp when driving.
  • Difficulty gripping the steering wheel.
  • Taking more prescription drugs to cope with arthritic pain experienced while driving.

    Most of these symptoms can be easily treated or corrected, if you have experienced any, you should talk to your GP or seek professional mobility advice to see what driving aids are available to help you stay safe, secure and comfortable when driving.

    Older Drivers - General Safety Advice for Older Drivers.

    Tips and Advice - Article No.11 RoadDriver 2010

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