Just because your age is increasing doesn't mean you have to lose your sense of independence. The ability to drive is a freedom 70 million Americans over the age of 65 will be licensed to do by 2030, according to the American Automobile Association.
As it is for any other generation, it's crucial for seniors to be safe on the road. Here are some helpful tricks for seniors still out cruising the open road:
"Seniors should get regular sight and hearing tests."
Test your senses
Are you having problems seeing or hearing? If so, it may not be safe for you to operate a vehicle. Seniors should have these two senses checked out by a medical professional on a regular basis. A poor diagnosis doesn't mean you have to stop driving, it just may result in some necessary adjustments like hearing aids or a new prescription in your glasses, according to the National Institutes of Health. Doctors may also recommend that older family members stick to daytime driving or operate the car without the radio if seeing or hearing issues are discovered.
Know your limits
It's common for seniors to have at least one condition that requires medication or awareness. These issues, especially those that are chronic, should be monitored to ensure they don't impact driving. For example, loved ones shouldn't operate a vehicle after taking a medication that tends to make them drowsy or dizzy, the Mayo Clinic recommended. If there are any hesitations or concerns with how conditions or prescriptions will impact one's ability to drive, seniors should consult their doctor.
Be mindful of weather and traffic
Inclement conditions – like freezing rain that turns into black ice – can cause any driver to be alarmed and overwhelmed. So can periods of time when there are a lot of cars on the road. If senior drivers can avoid bad weather and heavy traffic, it may be for the best, State Farm suggested. These situations require people's utmost attention and even the slightest distraction can have serious consequences.
If you do have to drive during these times, it's crucial to remain alert. Ensure wiper blades, mirrors and windows are clean and maintain some distance between your car and the ones around you.
Brush up on your skills
A little extra education never hurt anybody. Seniors can benefit from a mature driver safety course, which teaches them defensive driver techniques and fills them in on any legislative updates that could affect their operation of a vehicle, according to DMV.org. This type of coursework can make older drivers feel more comfortable behind the wheel and more confident on the potential split-second decisions they may have to make while driving.
Age is just a number. It doesn't have to affect your personal wants and abilities as long as you're honest about your limitations. Driving is a wonderful freedom to have, so long as you do it safely. These tips and tricks will help you do just that.