Safe driving after the age of 65 is vitally important.
As soon as you notice one or more of the Older Driver Red Flags, take action to preserve your health and independence. Confide in your spouse, adult children, or trusted friend about what you’ve observed about your own driving or that of your loved one. Also make an appointment with your physician to:
- Understand how your medical conditions and drug prescriptions may impact your driving capabilities,
- Discuss possible medication changes to improve your driving ability, and
- Review precautions you can take to improve your driving safety.
Driver Rehabilitation Specialist May Extend Older Adult Driving
Your doctor may suggest you consult a Driver Rehabilitation Specialist that is trained to assess your driving ability and recommend:
- Refresher driving courses with an Occupational Therapist specially trained to improve driving ability and able to help you adjust your seating, steering wheel, and mirrors for better performance;
- Installing adaptive devices in your vehicle such as a steering wheel spinner knob, left foot accelerator pedal, hand controls, assist bar or strap, and reduced effort steering systems to support safe driving and better mobility;
- Sensible everyday driving restrictions as discussed in 12 Safe Driving Precautions for Seniors; and/or
- Establishing a plan to stop driving and transition to other forms of transportation.
5 Other Steps to Keep Your Driving Independence
There are five other steps older adults can take to keep you on the road longer, for instance:
- Get routine vision check-ups to make sure your prescription matches your current capabilities and your glasses and contacts are up to date;
- Exercise regularly to strengthen the muscles you use to drive and boost your flexibility so you can respond quickly;
- Explore alternative treatments that may alleviate joint pain, swelling, and stiffness without making you sleepy;
- Incorporate lifestyle changes such as limiting alcohol consumption, quitting smoking, and sustaining a healthy weight to fortify your physical and cognitive abilities for as long as possible; and
- Monitor your glucose blood sugar level and if it is too low take the proper steps to prevent hypoglycemia before getting behind the wheel.