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Safety for Older Drivers

An aging population means more aging drivers.  The leading edge of the baby boomers is entering their 60's, and the fastest-growing segment of seniors are the over-80's. Both groups are experiencing age-related changes that can affect safe driving.  Generally, those over 65 are relatively safe drivers; unfortunately, those over 80 have more collisions.

Many of today's seniors learned to drive the family car or truck in their teens, and did not even take a road test to get a driver's license.  Some developed driving habits that are unsafe.

With age-related changes in vision and hearing, slower reflexes, and reduced flexibility, drivers over 60 need more than ever to depend more on good driving habits.

Are YOU thinking ahead about the day that you may have to give up your driver's license? Are you willing to take a refresher course to increase the likelihood that you can continue to drive safely for years to come?

Here are a few questions to help you check your driving habits:

  •  Do you check and adjust the rear view mirror and side mirrors before starting your car?
  •  Do you know where the headrest should be for the best protection?
  •  Some situations can be especially challenging for older drivers. Are you aware of the safest behaviours when…making a left turn? Merging? Changing lanes?

Check your safe driving knowledge:

  • Who has the right-of-way during a merge?
  •  If two drivers arrive at a four-way stop at the same time, who has the right-of-way?
  •  How many collisions are caused by "distraction" (inside and outside the car)?

For answers, visit the Canada Safety Council's website:
http://safety-council.org/safety/public-safety/seniors/safety-tips-for-the-older-driver/

For more information on adaptations in society to accommodate aging drivers, read The Signs They Are A-Changin'  by Nordahl Flakstad in the Health tab of the ElderWise Library by clicking on www.elderwise.ca/library.html 

Vol.3, No.2
© ElderWise Inc. 2007.
You have permission to reprint this or any other ElderWise INFO articles, provided you reproduce it in its entirety, acknowledge our copyright, and include the following statement:
Originally published by ElderWise Inc., Canada's "go to" place for midlife and older adults seeking information and support on health, housing and relationships. Visit us at
www.elderwise.ca and subscribe to our FREE  newsletter.

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