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5 Safety Tips for Senior Drivers

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Mobility is a quality of life issue and driving is a key part of seniors staying mobile, independent and socially active. It is important for drivers of all ages to drive safely from the time they earn their driver license to the time they retire it. Safe driving involves good vision, quick reflexes, joint flexibility and muscle strength. All these components are important to ensure drivers can judge distances, quickly spot troubles and react appropriately.

Here are 5 safety tips we’ve come up with for senior drivers:

  1. Make sure your car is the right fit for you. That means being able to see over the steering wheel, reach the brake and accelerator comfortably, and get in and out of your vehicle with ease. If your vehicle isn’t the proper fit for you, don’t worry. You can install adaptive features and devices to help make your car more comfortable and safe for you to drive.
  2. Get a restricted driver license. Restrictions to your driving privilege are not punitive; they are intended to help you drive safer and longer. Restrictions are based on conditions, not age. Restrictions may include limiting when and where you may drive, such as staying off the freeway, not driving during rush hour traffic and only driving during daylight hours.
  3. Keep up your health! Have your vision and hearing checked by your physician, and exercise regularly. You need to see clearly, judge distances and hear horns and sirens when you drive. Staying active ensures you maintain muscle strength and flexibility, which can help with turning the steering wheel or looking over your shoulder.
  4. Plan your trip out before you head out the door. Find the safest, smoothest routes before leaving to your destination, so you don’t find yourself stressed or lost while driving.
  5. Enroll in a driving course to update and refresh your driving skills and knowledge of the “rules of the road”. Just because you’re getting older doesn’t mean you have to stop driving! Improve your defensive driving techniques at a Mature Driver Improvement Course.

In addition to these tips, all drivers of any age should avoid distractions while driving, always wear their seat belt and never drive after drinking alcohol or taking prescription and over the counter medications that can impair their driving.

If you are worried that someone you know may no longer be driving safely, submit a Request for Driver Reexamination (PDF). The form is confidential.

For more tips on safe driving for older adults, read our Senior Guide for Safe Driving handbook.

For additional resources, questions or for assistance contact your local Senior Driver Ombudsmen.

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