Adults and Seniors Car Safety
The risk of motor vehicle accidents increases as you age. Age-related changes in vision and cognitive function, as well as other health conditions, can affect the driving abilities of older adults. According to the CDC, per mile traveled, fatal crash rates rise dramatically at ages 70-74 and are highest among drivers ages 85 and older.
Car Safety Tips For Seniors
- Follow Basic Traffic Rules: Remember to wear your seat belt; it protects you from death or serious injury during a crash. Keep a safe driving distance, be aware of others on the road and be extra careful while merging or at intersections.
- Check Your Vision and Hearing – Get an eye exam at least once or twice a year and update your prescription eyeglasses or get corrective lenses, if needed. Have your hearing checked once every three years and get a hearing aid, if required.
- Check Your Medications – Many medications cause drowsiness or make you dizzy or lightheaded. Be sure to discuss with your doctor or check your medications for side effects.
- Plan Ahead and Avoid Distractions – Avoid driving in bad weather conditions or at night, if you have difficulty seeing well in the dark. Avoid distractions while driving that could take your eyes off the road, such as adjusting your radio, texting or talking on your phone, eating or looking at your GPS.
- Improve Your Driving – Consider taking defensive driving or refresher courses to brush up on your driving skills. ‘CarFit’ is an educational program that offers older adults the opportunity to check how well their personal vehicles "fit" them. NYU Winthrop Hospital has certified CarFit technicians who assist ensuring seniors stay safe in their cars. Organizations such as the AARP offer driver safety courses and other online tools and resources to help you improve your driving knowledge and skills.
- Get a Yellow Dot Sticker – Yellow Dot is a free program that alerts first responders about important medical information stored in the glove compartment of your car, helping them provide life-saving treatment immediately after a crash or other emergency.
- Consider Alternatives – If you are not confident or comfortable with driving, consider riding with friends or using public transport.