There is no hard and fast rule when it comes to retiring from driving a car. It’s a very personal decision that is based on more than just your age. Many seniors are still independent drivers well into their eighties. The deciding factors, while they do include age, are also things such as response time and anxiety. When you are a senior who drives and you start feeling nervous about an activity you previously enjoyed, it might be time to consider discussing it with your family and your doctor. There are precautions you can take in order to ensure that you maintain your independence while also keeping everybody around you safe.
The first thing you need to do is to swallow your pride. Age is a fact of life and there’s no escaping it. At some point or another, things that used to come easily will require more effort. It’s important to know your limits and acknowledge your situation. One great idea is to consider taking a refresher course on some driving basics. This will give you some confidence in case you are feeling apprehensive, and it can never hurt to brush up on the rules of the road and the meanings of street signs. Mental strength is also reinforced by cognitive thinking, so make sure you stay active by doing puzzles and reading books. After you brush up on driving skills, make sure you visit the doctor for all regular checkups, including frequent hearing and eye exams.
In addition to maintaining your mental acuity, the more physically active you are, the better your life will be. Exercise has been known to benefit seniors by keeping them from getting injured, helping with focus, alleviating anxiety and depression, and staying social. The body also gains strength from working out, even if minimally. Cardio activity will keep blood and oxygen flowing smoothly and maintain a healthy heart. These are all reasons to stay fit if going behind the wheel.
Distracted driving is a big problem. Being a senior means you are already at a disadvantage with reduced vision and slower response time. It is vital that you don’t make it worse with any added distractions. Avoid all substances and medications that could cause sleepiness or impairment, and do not let yourself be distracted by any devices such as cell phones, conversations, or even the radio or A/C controls. Lastly, avoid driving conditions that are subpar. Try only driving during the day when the sun is out.