Many older drivers in New York handle the road with exceptional skill and maintain sparkling driving records. Nonetheless, older drivers do experience their share of accidents that result in injuries and deaths each year.
Safe driving requires knowledge of traffic laws and an awareness of the limitations of advanced age behind the wheel.
Timeless tips for seniors who drive
The New York State Department of Motor Vehicles provides a helpful list of things older drivers should consider every time they turn on the ignition. Many of these suggestions promote simple common sense, while others hint at the many scenarios drivers contend with every time they pull into traffic. The following recommendations seek to keep senior drivers safe:
- Keep a minimum three-second following distance
- Limit driving at dusk or dawn
- Avoid staring into bright headlights
- Do not drive when emotionally rattled
- Know the effects of prescription drugs
- Prepare for the unexpected
Both judgement and driving skills require reinforcement for some older drivers. A driver improvement course could benefit struggling drivers, and regular medical visits could alleviate issues such as poor vision or reduced hearing.
Increased risks for older drivers
The Centers for Disease Control states that the risks for traffic injuries and deaths increase as people age. This happens for at least two main reasons: the frailer bodies of seniors, and the decline in physical attributes such as cognitive abilities and vision.
Older drivers do tend to engage in many positive driving behaviors. These include frequently wearing seat belts and avoiding more dangerous times for driving. They also drink and drive less frequently than other age groups. Programs and services such as ride sharing and public transit can also help seniors stay safe.