Aging is inevitable, and change is a part of aging. For seniors, staying safe while driving can be a challenge. Changes in vision or hearing can cause problems, and reaction times may slow. Fortunately, seniors can make driving safer by following these nine tips.
1. Avoid Driving During Twilight or at Night.
If seniors have trouble seeing in low-light settings, they should avoid driving at night, dawn or dusk. Seniors with limited night vision may consider asking others for a ride if necessary.
2. Adjust the Driver’s Seat Appropriately.
The driver’s seat should be positioned high enough to allow the driver to see over the steering wheel and dashboard without stretching.
3. Wear Corrective Lenses.
If you have a prescription for corrective lenses, i.e., glasses or contacts, always wear them while driving. Glasses should fit snug and be free of scratches or cracks that obstruct vision.
4. Have an Annual Checkup for Changes in Vision or Hearing.
With age, your vision may change due to presbyopia or the formation of cataracts. Additionally, your hearing may diminish. Have an annual checkup for changes in vision or hearing. This will help you see and hear what’s happening on the road.
5. Wear Sunglasses or Anti-Reflective Lenses to Reduce Glare.
During daytime driving, sunlight and reflections strain the eyes and make driving difficult. Wearing polarized sunglasses or anti-reflective lenses can help reduce the glare.
6. Limit Volume and Use of the Radio.
The radio can drown out sirens, so seniors should keep the volume minimal. Turn off the radio during rush hour or other periods of high traffic.
7. Don’t Use Your Cell When Driving.
Talking or texting on smartphones has been shown to be more dangerous than drunken driving. Pull over to answer calls or text messages.
8. Know If Your Medications Inhibit Your Ability to Drive.
Some medications, such as sleeping aids, can interfere with your ability to drive. If the label advises against operating heavy machinery, don’t drive after taking it until you know how your body will react.
9. Consider Purchasing a Car With Advanced Safety Features.
Many modern cars have auto-braking systems, lane assistance technologies, and cameras to make driving safer. As you age, consider a car that looks out for your safety while you drive.
Since loss of vision and cataracts are extremely common occurrences as we age, it’s wise to have an eye exam each year. If you know you have cataracts or worsening vision, or are wearing reading glasses, we invite you to chat with a Mann Eye Institute representative about our Active Life Lens and Reading Vision Correction procedures.