Driving promotes independence and creates a sense of individuality, particularly for older adults who value autonomy and flexibility. It’s important to consider changes in the natural aging process to ensure safe driving. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than 32,000 deaths occur each year on U.S. roads. Safety measures like wearing a seatbelt, adjusting car mirrors, and programing navigation devices prior to driving are simple measures that can be implemented.

The NIH Senior Health advices older adults to consider changes in vision, hearing, attention and reaction, strength, and coordination when making adjustments for safe driving. The NIH Senior Health recommends vision checks every 1 -2 years, adjusting car seats to eye-level, and driving during daytime hours whenever possible. Other driving recommendations include hearing exams every 3 years, limiting loud noises and distractions, and giving extra space between your vehicle and the car ahead of you.

It’s also important to consult with your doctor regarding medications that can cause dizziness or impair driving. Read prescription labels and speak with your physician before taking medications that can affect driving abilities. The NIH Senior Health also recommends defense driving classes to enhance driving skills stating, “These classes can help older people feel more confident behind the wheel. A bonus: many auto insurers give premium discounts to people who complete driver-safety classes.”

The CDC comments on ways to prevent motor vehicle accident and promote safe driving noting:

By implementing effective strategies, including those that increase seat belt use and reduce alcohol-impaired driving and speeding, the United States can prevent thousands of motor vehicle crash-related injuries and deaths and hundreds of millions of dollars in direct medical costs every year.

* All information shared in this article should be discussed with your healthcare practitioner prior to incorporating any suggestions. This article is for informational purposes only, and is not intended to provide advice or direct client decisions.