Common Medical Conditions That Can Affect Seniors’ Driving

This gust post is from Nancy Riley. Nancy¬†has been an auto insurance representative for the past 15 years and an employee for the DMV for the past five years. She can’t fix your car, but she can offer tips on how to pass a driving test with flying colors.

As a senior citizen, you know that getting older is tough. It’s bad enough feeling your body age and watching that reflection in the mirror change, but when your health starts to impact your ability to drive you truly begin to feel stuck. There is nothing more frustrating than losing your ability to drive a car and your mobility; it truly feels as if you have lost your independence. However, it is important to recognize that medical conditions can impact your ability to drive. As a senior citizen, learn to recognize the warning signs and take preventative measures in order to ensure you can drive the roads safely for as long as possible.

Medical Impairments

  1. Don’t ignore pain or stiffness of the neck. Not having full mobility of your neck could severely affect the way you see other cars and pedestrians on the road.
  2. Leg pain can also be a factor. Leg pains and stiffness affect your ability to properly gas and brake in emergency situations.
  3. Be aware of your reactions times. As reaction time slows, “close calls” with other cars become more frequent. Helpguide.org emphasizes the importance of knowing your limitations and being aware of how often close calls are occurring.

Be Proactive, Not Reactive

Seniors who notice the early warning signs for these conditions can now begin taking actions to combat them. Many senior auto insurance policies from companies such as AARP insurance offer driver training programs for seniors that help them to easily retrain their brain to drive. There are driver improvement courses for seniors that will help you prepare yourself to drive again in everyday situations, bad weather and other driving situations. There are software programs that are available for seniors to use that help them train their brain for quick reaction times and help with decision making skills as well. According to CBS, these software programs are also helping seniors on a fixed income because they can help lower their auto insurance rates, which typically increase as a person begins to age.

Driving Tips:

  1. Drive defensively and without distractions. Using technologies like Bluetooth and hands free phone conversations and be the difference between having an accident or not. If you must take a phone call or check a map, always pull over to the side of the road first.
  2. Listen to the concerns of others. If friends or family who often ride in your passenger seat point our criticism in your driving, listen to them. They aren’t there to make you feel bad about the way you drive, and only have your best interests at heart.
  3. Another tip to help lower your rates is to always make sure you can see 10 feet in front of you on the road. This will allow you to drive safely throughout all of the conditions, and the safer you drive, the fewer accidents you will be in. Fewer accidents mean that your auto insurance rates will most certainly be lower.

For seniors, it is especially important to stay on top of any health warning signs that might impact your driving abilities. Knowing these warning signs and recognizing their impact will help keep you safe. In addition, take measures to proactively improve your driving skills. This will make sure you can stay on the road as long as possible, and you can continue savoring your independence.

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