According to a recent report by the California Highway Patrol (CHP), California’s older driving population is estimated to be around 2.9 million. By 2020, the CHP estimates the 65 and older population will be over four million.
With more senior drivers on the road, the CHP has instituted the “Age Well, Drive Smart” initiative. This program is designed to help families with the difficult task of talking to an older family member about their driving.
Many senior drivers wish to maintain their independence for as long they can safely drive. Here are four tips to keep senior drivers safe on the road:
Daily Physical Exercise
To ensure that older drivers have the faculties needed to keep them safe, the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) offers a self-assessment tool. In addition, proper diet and exercise will ensure they have the muscle strength and flexibility to stay safe. The DMV believes even light exercise like walking, dancing, gardening and shopping are beneficial. Mental exercise tools like crossword puzzles, will also keep reflexes and visual search skills in shape.
Regular Eye Exams
Good vision is imperative for good driving. As drivers age, common vision impairments like cataracts, glaucoma and macular degeneration significantly affect eye health. Keeping up to date on eye exams, which include dilation, will help drivers be aware of any peripheral or distance judging deficiencies.
Proper Vehicle Fit
How a car fits the driver is important no matter their age. With physical changes brought on by age, also come changes in the type of vehicle needed for optimal safety. It is necessary for older drivers to see over the dashboard, reach the pedals easily and control the weight and speed of the car. If buying or leasing a vehicle that meets these requirements is not possible, other adaptive changes can be made to the current vehicle to increase its safety. Buying pedal extenders, seat belt adaptors and additional mirrors will help ensure a good driver and vehicle fit.
Consistent Hearing Exams
Hearing is one of the most underestimated safety factors for older drivers. The ability to hear horns, sirens and screeching tires is imperative to being warned of driving hazards. Regular hearing exams will help senior drivers be aware of any hearing loss. In addition, hearing can be compensated for with the enhancement of other senses. Adjusting mirrors and scanning the environment frequently can help diminish the effects of hearing loss.
Above all else, knowing when a senior driver should no longer be driving will guarantee they and others are safe.
If you’ve been injured in an accident, please contact us at 949-496-7000. The first call is always free and we will be sure to get back to you within 24 hours. Additionally, visit our page on vehicle accidents to learn more.