Getting older is part of life. Challenges associated with older age, however, such as diminished physical, mental, and sensory abilities, can lead to dangerous outcomes when elder adults get behind the wheel. Handing over the keys might be necessary, but it is never easy. There are other steps that family members can utilize to help senior loved ones reduce their driving risks by taking certain precautions.
Older Driver Safety Awareness Week offers many helpful driving tips. The annual event occurs the first week of every December and features a number of ways adult children can help boost senior safety on the road throughout the year. For example, making certain vehicle adjustments can help your loved ones before issues start. Let us share with you several examples:
- Raise the older adult’s seat high enough for a clear view of the road, and place a pillow on the seat if necessary.
- Keep the windshield, headlights, and mirror clean to maximize visibility.
- Set the headlights to an automatic “on” position.
- Get rid of dark tint on windows.
- Make sure the elder adult’s car has an automatic transmission.
- Keep windshield wiper blades in proper working condition.
Additionally, consider discussing these important driving tips, which may include:
- Avoid driving at night.
- Avoid driving during periods of high traffic, like morning and afternoon rush hours.
- Drive on familiar streets and try to stay close to home.
- Avoid driving during rain, fog, or snow.
- Do not drive if feeling tired, lightheaded, or stressed.
- Always plan to keep a safe distance between other cars.
Periodic vision and hearing tests can also be important, and seniors should always wear their doctor-prescribed glasses and hearing aids when operating a vehicle. Limiting driving distractions is critical at any age, but especially for seniors. This includes unnecessary radio noise, cell phone conversations, texting, and eating. To further protect themselves and others, Older Americans should review their prescription drugs for any impairing side-effects, never drink and drive, and ask for help whenever they are in doubt about driving.
Another precaution is expert guidance. If you or an aging adult family member would like to learn more about the legal considerations facing older drivers and what your options may be, we encourage you not to wait to plan forward. You may contact our firm at any time to schedule a meeting with our own attorney Donna Wilson.