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Car and Driver Safety for Elderly Drivers

Yes, they are out there on the road. They are not driving fast, they are obeying the speed limit. You will see them in the left lane hovering over the steering wheel. Try not to scare them by blowing the horn or tailgating.

Driving is generally the last activity that seniors are able to do independently. Elderly drivers are good drivers. They will quickly tell you they have been driving a long time and they know what they are doing. However, a reaction time is slower in the elderly, and they may not be able to respond quickly to avoid an accident. Here are some tricks and tips for elderly drivers that may increase your safety when driving:

Go to the bathroom before leaving your home. Do you have everything you need to leave the house? Some things you should consider keeping with you in your car at all times may include jumper cables, 2 bottles of water, a pack of crackers, a change of clothes and shoes, your phone and charger, a reflective vest, and a flashlight. You never know what may happen out on the road.

As you walk to get into your car, look at your tires. Occasionally, do the penny test: place a penny with Lincoln’s head upside down and facing you. If you can see all of Lincoln’s head, it’s time to replace your tires.

Once seated in your car, do a quick check that you have enough gas, and at the oil display. Additionally, once a week, you should check oil levels, wiper fluid, lift the hood and look for debris, and clean out your car. It is recommended that one gets an oil change every 3,500 miles, approximately.

Get yourself organized before you start the car. Plug in your phone charger, arrange notes, open your snack or drink, etc. This will prevent you from attempting to do any of this while driving.

Once reaching your destination, park in an wide-open parking area. This may prevent you from colliding with other moving or parked vehicles. This will also give you enough time to park your car at your own pace. 

When exiting your vehicle, place any valuables out of sight or in the trunk. This will discourage others from attempting to break into your car when you are not in it.

Always lock your car doors - whether you're driving or exiting the vehicle.

Have your car key in your hand and ready before walking to the car. This will ensure you're not distracted while walking to your car, and are aware of your surroundings.

Did you know?

Hay is cut 3 times a year - around Memorial Day, the 4th of July, and Labor Day. Watch out for tractors and hay wagons!

18-wheeler truck traffic is the heaviest on Thursday’s. Avoid the interstate that day if you are uncomfortable with driving around trucks.

You can’t see a motorcycle in your blind spot - always look twice!

Written by: Care Manager - Dawn Groff, BSN, RN, CCM


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