Safe driving tips for seniors

As you enter your retirement years, you may be looking forward to the flexibility your free time will allow you for volunteering at your favorite charity, cultivating your hobbies and visiting family members – near and far.

But with all this flexibility to drive, you may have noticed you aren’t driving like you used to. Maybe you can’t see as well, or you aren’t as comfortable behind the wheel. The good news is, even though your body is getting older, you can still get behind the wheel when you want – you just need to adopt new driver safety tips.

* If you struggle with muscle strength, adaptive aids are available to allow you to overcome this handicap. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) provides many resources at www.nhtsa.gov/Senior-Drivers. These aids can include adjustable seats or hand controls to operate the vehicle.

* Most states require everyone to undergo a vision check every time they need to renew their license. Make sure you get periodic vision checks and upgrade your prescription if needed so you can safely drive.

* Consider restricting the time you are in the car to daylight hours or setting boundaries of where you will drive. Many senior drivers find driving after dark makes it more difficult to safely navigate the roads, and opt to only get behind the wheel during daylight hours. And if you prefer to drive in familiar territory, arrange for a ride if your activities require you to travel to a new or far away location. By driving in an area where you are familiar with the streets, speed limits and road conditions, you can focus more of your attention on other drivers and pedestrians.

* Investigate alternative means of transportation. You may discover the community you live in is full of fantastic alternative transportation opportunities. These driving services for seniors not only allow you to leave the car at home, but potentially meet new people in the community, or discover new places you never would have driven to. Bus and train systems, taxis, community vans and carpooling services are available in many communities too. And with your flexible retirement schedule, it shouldn’t be too difficult to fit alternative transportation into your lifestyle.

Keep road safety in mind as you enjoy your retirement and get out into the community. And don’t let your age prevent you from following safe senior driving practices.