As of 2021, there were an estimated 32 million drivers over the age of 70 in the United States alone. And although in most cases, senior drivers have more experience driving than younger cohorts they share the road with, experience behind the wheel doesn’t always mean less risk of an accident. This is because as we age, we physically and cognitively decline, and as such our risk of getting in an accident can increase substantially. Statistics show that drivers over the age of 70 have a much higher chance of a fatal car crash than middle-aged drivers.
However, just because you’re over the age of 70 doesn’t necessarily mean you need to stop. By taking the right precautions, and ensuring you’re still physically and mentally fit to continue driving, there’s no reason why you should turn in your keys just yet. Here are some of the best tips for drivers over 70 that will not only help you stay safe but also other drivers on the road.
Get Regular Check Up
Getting regular health checkups is important whether you’re a driver or not. As you age it’s important that you monitor the state of your health. However, regular health checkups are especially important if you’re an older driver. As you get older you may experience changes in your vision, hearing, and cognitive functions which could significantly impact your ability to drive.
By scheduling regular appointments with your doctor you’ll be able to keep a close eye on the state of your health., Your doctor will be able to address any health concerns and determine whether you’re still fit to drive.
Stay Up to Date With Traffic Laws
Traffic laws and regulations may not be the same as when you were 20 years old. So it’s crucial that you stay up to date with the latest rules— from speed limits to signs, so that you know you’re informed.
You may even want to consider signing up for a refresher course like defensive driving which can help reinforce the knowledge that you already have. After all, chances are your last driving test was more than a few years ago.
Keep Your Distance
One of the biggest causes of accidents among seniors is failing to maintain a safe driving distance. This is because as we age our reaction times significantly diminish. If you manage to keep a far enough distance between you and the vehicle in front of you, you’ll ensure that you have enough time to brake in the event that they make a sudden maneuver. A general rule of thumb is always to keep a gap of at least three seconds between you and the cars in front of you. Follow that rule and you should be golden.
Limit Your Driving (Especially at Night)
If you’re significantly concerned about the possibility of a collision, limit your driving time, and consider avoiding driving at night as much as possible. Ultimately, you reduce your chances of accidents the less you drive. So logically, the less you drive the less chance you’ll have of getting into an accident. Above all, plan your trips at times which you anticipate will have the most amount of light and least amount of traffic.
By following these tips and being honest with yourself about your overall state of health, you should have a relaxed and safe driving experience as a driver over 70.