The U.S. population over 60 is only growing. With longer life expectancies and lower birth rates, older age groups will soon make up most of the total population. The population over 65 has increased by 33% in just the last ten years, according to the Administration for Community Living.
Considering these statistics, the number of drivers on the road over 60 will only increase in the coming years. It is common knowledge that the natural effects of aging can impact one’s ability to drive, but the conversation about reducing driving time can be difficult to have with aging parents.
Here are three tips that adult children can share with their elderly parents to help ensure they stay safe on the road and proactively avoid accidents.
1. Get hearing and vision checked regularly
Our senses of hearing and vision are some of the most critical ones needed to drive safely. Yet, these two senses are also the ones that most commonly deteriorate as we age.
That is why the Mayo Clinic advises aging drivers should do what they can to care for their health and check that their hearing and vision are up to par consistently.
2. Be selective of when to drive
It is helpful if aging drivers only get behind the wheel when they feel comfortable and confident. For example:
- Older drivers should avoid driving when the roads are slippery or wet;
- Many older drivers limit their driving to daytime only, to avoid times of low visibility; and
- Drivers, no matter their age, should never get behind the wheel after drinking alcohol.
3. Take care to drive defensively
All drivers on Maryland roads must drive defensively. However, this tip is especially important for aging drivers, so they can give themselves time and space to react to hazards that could lead to an accident.
Car accidents can be particularly dangerous for older drivers. They are more susceptible to injuries, and the physical changes from age make it more challenging for the body to heal.
No one wants to give up the freedom and convenience that driving offers, but drivers must be acutely aware of how aging can affect their safety on the road.