As the holiday season approaches, many people are starting to make their travel arrangements to celebrate with family and friends. However, whether you’re planning on staying in Georgia or crossing state lines, older drivers need to take extra precautions when traveling long distances – especially during this busy time on the roads.
While driving is important for maintaining independence, age-related changes to vision and cognitive functioning can affect older drivers’ driving abilities. Unfortunately, a person’s risk of getting into an accident increases as they age. According to the CDC, approximately 20 senior drivers are killed and 700 are injured in car accidents each day in the U.S.
To ensure you arrive at your destination safely this holiday season, here are a few tips older drivers can use for their journey.
1. Review your medications
Have your doctor or pharmacist review your prescription and over-the-counter medications before your trip. Certain medicines, supplements or even herbal products could increase your risk of a car wreck by affecting your driving ability.
2. Check the weather
Wet and slippery weather conditions in the winter often require drivers to react quickly if they or another driver loses control of their vehicle. For older drivers, diminished cognitive or physical abilities can make this a challenge.
3. Plan your route in advance
It’s a good idea to review your route before you start driving, so you know what to expect on the roads. Ideally, it would help if you tried to travel during nonpeak traffic hours during the day when it’s easier to see your surroundings.
4. Consider the alternatives
Though you may drive yourself, you may want to weigh your options to determine if the pros outweigh the cons. Depending on your circumstances, it may be safer to travel with a friend or use public transit to get to your destination.
With all the holidays’ excitement, older adults mustn’t overlook safety during their travels. Taking these precautions can help ensure you stay safe and avoid accidents this winter.