All drivers over the age of 65 years of age need to think about the sorts of things that might make driving more difficult. Assessing your driving skills, and being aware of early warning signs are the best way to make sure you're not putting yourself, and your loved ones, at risk on the road.
Older driver checklist
We have put together a general checklist to help you assess how safe a driver you are.
- Suffer from any serious health conditions such as arthritis, epilepsy, a heart condition, high blood pressure or anxiety?
- Take medication that may impair your driving?
- Have difficulty reacting quickly to other drivers' actions?
- Drive at inappropriate speeds, either too fast or too slow?
- Regularly need your passengers to give you directions, such as when it is clear to pass?
- Ignore or misinterpret traffic signs and signals?
- Fail to judge distances between cars correctly?
- Become easily flustered or angry?
- Have difficulty with glare of oncoming headlights, streetlights or other bright or shiny objects, especially at dawn, dusk and at night?
- Find it hard to turn your head, neck, shoulders or body while in traffic or parking?
- Had one or more near accidents?
- Feel exhausted after driving for an hour or more?
- Have difficulty maintaining concentration while driving?
- Have your passengers warn you about things on the road you may not have seen, or have seen too late?
- Feel uncomfortable in heavy traffic?
If you answered yes to any of these questions, it may be time for you to think about modifying your driving behaviour and improving your safety on the road.
How to keep driving safely
Here are some simple tips that will help keep you on the road for longer.
- Use public transport or drive to the closest, most convenient form of public transport.
- Try to limit driving to off-peak periods.
- Plan shorter driving periods, and rest along the way.
- Try to drive only in daylight hours and avoid driving at sunset or sunrise – both are times of high glare and poor visibility.
- Try to avoid non signalled right hand turns where possible.
- Get a few refresher driving lessons.
- Don't drive if you've been drinking or have taken medication.
- Have your eyes tested at least once every two years and make sure your optometrist knows that you drive.
- Talk to your pharmacist or doctor about any effect your medication may have on your driving.
- Choose the safest route, rather than the most direct one.