Don't Neglect Mammograms out of Fear

Does Dad Have a Need for Speed? How to Keep Older Drivers Safe on the Road

Since taking away an older driver's keys is not something that anyone looks forward to, it's important that people understand how to keep older drivers safe on the road until you really have to put your foot down. Here's more information about what you can do and why.

Make sure older drivers see an eye doctor annually.

Eyes naturally lose their acuity as people age, so annual check-ups are extremely important to ensure that drivers can see everything on the road clearly.

For example, more than 50% of Americans have or have had cataracts by age 80. These cataracts can cloud a person's vision, making it harder for people to see oncoming traffic and other obstacles. Fortunately, cataracts are very treatable. In early stages, treatment may only involve new eyeglasses. More severe cataracts can effectively be treated by surgery in which a damaged lens is replaced with an artificial lens.

Other common problems that older people face include sensitivity to light, glaucoma (which can lead to vision loss), and dry and irritated eyes. All of these ailments can make it difficult for aging eyes to focus while driving, but the good news is that they're all treatable and can be diagnosed at a yearly check-up. Catching these problems early can help keep older eyes ready for the roads.

Make sure older drivers invest in the right vehicle.

Vehicle choice is an extremely important consideration for older drivers. Many large sedans and smaller SUVs and minivans make perfect vehicles due to their comfort, range of vision they provide from the driver's seat, and upgraded features.

Most newer vehicles can come equipped with rear-view cameras, blind-spot detection mirrors, and special convex side mirrors that allow a driver to see more things around him or her. These can all be particularly helpful for drivers who have limited mobility in their neck and can't easily turn their heads to view their surroundings.

Help older drivers understand the best time to drive.

Most people know that night driving is more difficult than day driving, but less well-known is the fact that certain times and days are safer for older drivers. First, roads on the weekends are generally busier than on weekdays, when many people are tied up at work or school. That's why Tuesdays and Wednesdays see the fewest number of fatalities compared to other days of the week.

Additionally, the morning and evening rush hours should be avoided. They are the times when commuters are rushing to and from their jobs and also when sun glare can be at its worst.

This information can go a long way towards keeping older drivers safely out on the roads while also maintaining their independence. Talk to local professionals such as Thomas L. Lawrence, M.D., P.A. for more information.