Tips for Safer Driving in Older Men

an old man in a car

As a man ages, he may find that his driving skills start to decline. This can be due to several factors, such as age-related vision and hearing loss and changes in reflexes and muscle strength. If you’re noticing that your driving abilities aren’t what they used to be, follow these tips to help you stay safe on the road.

1. Get your hearing checked regularly

Your hearing is a critical part of your driving ability, as you need to be able to hear other cars, horns, and sirens. Have your hearing checked by a professional every year or two to ensure it’s still up to par. You may also want to consider wearing a hearing aid if you experience hearing loss.

Many men are reluctant to admit they have a problem with their hearing, but it’s essential to do so if you want to stay safe on the road. You don’t want to miss a critical cue while driving, which could lead to an accident. Ask your doctor about getting a hearing test if you think you may have a problem.

2. Have your vision checked regularly

Similarly, your vision is crucial for driving. Various eye issues, such as cataracts, macular degeneration, and glaucoma, can pop up as you age. Depending on the severity of your vision problems, you may need to get glasses or even contact lenses. But more serious vision problems may require surgery.

For instance, severe nearsightedness can no longer be corrected with glasses or contact lenses, but various treatments are available. The Visian ICL eye surgery can correct this condition. It’s a permanent solution that doesn’t require follow-up care, making it a convenient option for busy men. LASIK is also an option for nearsighted people, but it typically requires more maintenance than Visian ICL treatment.

A mature man doing pushups at home

3. Stay physically active

It’s essential to maintain your muscle strength and reflexes as you age. Driving requires quick reflexes, so you need to be able to react quickly if something unexpected happens on the road. Regular exercise can help you stay in shape and maintain your reflexes.

Even if you’re not a fan of working out, there are other ways to stay active. Taking a brisk walk every day or going for a swim are excellent exercises for staying in shape and keeping your reflexes sharp. You can also join a community sports team or take up a new hobby that requires physical activity.

4. Drive during daylight hours

As you age, your vision may not be as sharp at night. According to the American Optometric Association, 64 percent of drivers over the age of 65 have difficulty seeing at night. This can make driving after sunset more dangerous. If possible, try to stick to driving during daylight hours.

Additionally, avoid driving in bad weather whenever possible. Rain, snow, and fog can make it more difficult to see and increase the risk of accidents. If you must drive in poor weather, take extra care and go slow. You want to give yourself more time to react if something happens.

5. Take a defensive driving course

If you’re worried about your declining driving skills, consider taking a driving safety course. These courses are designed to help people brush up on their skills and learn how to drive more defensively. Many insurance companies offer discounts to drivers who take these courses.

Depending on your location, you may be able to find a defensive driving course specifically for seniors. These classes typically cover topics like vision and hearing loss, medication use, and how to adjust your driving habits as you age. Ask your local Department of Motor Vehicles for more information.

6. Limit your distractions

Distracted driving is a leading cause of accidents. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, about 10 percent of fatal crashes involve distracted driving. And the risk of accidents goes up as we age. A study from the University of Utah found that drivers over the age of 80 are more likely to be involved in an accident when they’re talking on the phone or texting.

To avoid distractions, put your phone away and out of reach before you start driving. Pull over to a safe location if you need to make a call or send a text. And if you’re carrying passengers, ensure they understand your need to focus on the road. Don’t hesitate to ask them to take care of any tasks that would require you to take your eyes off the road.

As you age, it’s important to ensure your safety on the road. By following these tips, you can continue driving safely into your golden years. Always consult with your doctor if you have any concerns about your ability to drive. And if you’re ever in doubt, it’s always better to err on the side of caution and take a break from driving.

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