As we grow older, our abilities and capabilities will become limited. The things we can do when we're young may or may not be the same as we age. We can easily do extreme activities when were young than that of older people. Swimming, running, hiking and many other sports and activities are a piece of cake for younger people mainly because they have all the energy and endurance needed for such activities.
Moreover, younger people are less likely to experience health issues that may be a hindrance to their active lifestyle. Basically, getting old lessens our energy and abilities. Not only in performing extreme activities but also those things that we do every day, like driving.
There will be factors that will affect driving skills as you aged over the years
Driving for most people is a form of independence. Driving is an easy task for those who know how to maneuver cars skillfully. But it will change over time especially as we aged. There will be factors that will affect driving skills as you aged over the years. Your abilities will decrease and it has something to do with your health.
I. Factors that affect elderly's driving skills
1. Reduced strength
When we grow older, our strength will not be the same compared to our younger days. Reduction of strength will greatly affect driving skills. You may no longer be able to properly control the steering wheel or pedal brakes.
2. Poor eyesight
Poor eyesight is one of the most common and earliest signs of aging. It will be a major problem if you have eyesight problems while driving. You will experience difficulty seeing signal warnings, pedestrians, intersections, exits and other cars that may result in road accidents.
One of the most serious perils among aged drivers: their inability to see the road clearly
3. Leg pain
When experiencing leg pain, it will be difficult for you to step from gas to pedal brakes that will again cause driving problems. Like for example, suddenly accelerating or braking without any reason.
4. Decreased ability to divide attention
All know that while driving we have to divide our attention. To check for cars behind, in front, or beside while maneuvering the car and also paying attention to road and traffic signal. Losing this ability is natural as we aged but is detrimental to our driving skills.
As we age, it becomes more difficult to divide our attention so it is safer to just focus on the road alone when you are a senior driver
5. Stiffness and neck pain
The ability to look over your shoulders is a must while driving. Having neck pains will prevent you for doing so.
6. Diminished arm strength
Difficulty in controlling the steering wheel properly and effectively will affect your driving ability.
7. Memory problems
Memory loss is also a common problem of the elderly. Getting lost repeatedly is a sign you should take seriously.
Sharp memoriy is a necessary skill for any driver; unfortunately, many senior drivers tend to be forgetful and this could be a hindrance
9. Loss of flexibility and coordination
Flexibility and coordination is essential while driving. Losing these ability will give you difficulties while driving and will decrease your ability to control and drive the car. It will also lead to improper use of your car’s signal lights.
10. Hearing impairmen
Hearing problems will cause trouble while driving. Not being able to hear automobile horns or emergency siren of ambulance or firetruck and can be dangerous to you as a driver and the other drivers as well.
Hearing impairment can greatly affect a driver's ability to be aware of his surroundings especially when driving
All these factors that affect senior drivers may cause an accident that will damage property and may injure you or other people that might be involved if ever. It might even endanger lives.
II. Things to get checked before entering car's cockpit
To avoid unwanted incidents to happen, here are some things that older drivers should check before driving a car.
1. Regular checkup
Our body requires more medical attention as we get older, even more so among the elder drivers. Here are the factors that every senior driver should focus more on.
While regular checkup is necessary in general, it will also help determine whether a senior is still capable of driving or not
2. Annual eye checkup
This will aid any difficulty with your eye sight. Having regular eye checkup can detect possible eye problems such as cataract or glaucoma, and will help determine your eye glass and/or contact lenses prescriptions.
Driving is safer when you can see what's happening around you very clearly
3. Yearly hearing checkup
Annual hearing checkup will help you determine hearing problems early and possible solutions for any existing ailment.
Being a skilled driver is a combination of good eyesight and hearing abilities
III. Safe driving tips for elder drivers in the Philippines
1. Current or exisitng ailment
Always talk with your doctor regarding your present sickness and medication if ever it will affect your driving skills.
2. Have plenty of sleep
Having lots of sleep will help you have a positive mindset, good mental health and mood that will be beneficial not just to your driving ability but also to your overall health.
3. Avoid distractions
This includes using mobile phones either by texting or calling. Also, if having difficulty hearing, stop or avoid using loud music inside the car.
As seniors, we are expected to follow rules better than the younger ones: Needless to say, we should know that distracted driving is a no-no
4. Leave adequate space from the car in front of you
Keep a safe distance away from other cars especially to the car in front you.
5. Keep an eye at intersections
Pay attention to intersections. Why? To be aware of their will be any cars coming your way. It will prevent accidents and other road problems.
6. Prevent uncomfortable driving situations
This situation includes driving at night if you have eyesight problems. Also avoid driving during heavy rains and other undesirable weather conditions. If you have problems driving at night, avoid it. Just drive during broad daylight. It is also safe to stay out of heavy traffic in freeways and highways.
If uncomfortable driving situations are stresful for young drivers, how much more for the old ones?
7. Seek for occupational assistance if needed
Occupational assistance provides assistive devices to aid and suggest your driving exercises.
8. Discovering a car model that suits your need
Let try new models of cars that have automatic transmission, automatic brakes and steering. You may find the best one in our list of top 5 best cars for Filipino older drivers.
9. Sufficient stopping distance
You should allow right amount of braking distance to avoid bumping to other driver's car, or pedestrian.
It doesn't have to be a paid, professional assistant. If you have someone in the family that can be your driving buddy, it will be a big help
It is also safe to ask opinion from your family or medical practitioners, whether or not you're still capable of driving independently. Our ability to drive changes through the years. Gaining age will lessen your driving ability in connection to your health. So there's no harm in asking people close to you for advice if you need to stop driving.
After all, there are healthy benefits if you gave up driving (if needed). A simple example is walking and running in short distances which will serve as an exercise. Also, using public utility vehicles not only saves money for gas but also helps in socializing with other commuters.
Our family always wants what's best for us. Always listen to their advice
It is advantageous and helpful to know the tips for safety driving especially for the senior drivers. These tips will be beneficial first, to the elderly drivers since this is important information that may save their lives not just from injuries but also for eminent danger.
Second is to all the other people that may get involved in accidents happen due to senior driver's fault.
Lastly, it will prevent future accidents made by elderly drivers and damage to property, injuries or probable death can be avoided.
To sum it all up, learning the safe driving tips for elder drivers in the Philippines from Philkotse.com may save your life. Not just for the senior drivers but also to the people around them.