Senior Scene April 24, 2017

It appears that the Spring weather has definitely arrived and many folks out there are dusting off their vehicles and preparing for another season of driving.  Often older adults really curtail their winter driving for safety reasons.  Being aware of our own abilities is integral to road safety (our own as well as the safety of passengers and other drivers), so honestly admitting that you are not comfortable with winter driving is a wise choice.  Here are some things to think about when you are assessing your personal action plan for driving.


Do you find it hard to see driving at night? Does glare from the sun or lights of other cars bother you? Do you need to slow down to read unfamiliar road signs?  Reduced night vision can make it more difficult to read road signs and see people walking or riding bikes.  If these questions describe your experience, here are some suggestions:

  • Avoid night driving
  • If you need to drive at night, allow 5 minutes for your eyes to adjust
  • Avoid glare by looking to the right hand side of the road rather than directly at the oncoming traffic
  • Drive on well-lit roads where possible
  • Get regular eye examinations
  • Keep your windshield, inside of windows and car lights clean
  • Wear quality sun glasses
  • Always wear your latest prescription glasses. Do not wear old glasses or someone else’s

Many people make changes to their driving habits as they get older without giving it much thought. Others, however, fail to notice the changes they are experiencing that affect driving ability.  This section gives you tips for dealing with various driving difficulties.

Do you find it hard to turn to check your blind spot?  Are you sometimes surprised by cars that suddenly “appear” beside you?  Do you sometimes not notice people walking or riding on bikes at intersections?  As we grow older, we may need to pay closer attention to what is going on around us.  Neck and trunk flexibility may make it harder to see things around us.

  • Do regular flexibility exercises
  • Look for things happening on both sides of your car and well up the road
  • Check mirrors regularly. Reduce your left side blind spot by adjusting your side mirrors. First, lean your head against the window, adjust your mirror outward so that when you look at the inside edge you can barely see the side of your car. If you use a wide-angle mirror, practice before using it in traffic
  • Do not drive in another car’s blind spot
  • Always check twice before backing up because the scene behind you can change rapidly
  • Watch for people walking at intersections. Remember that they have the right of way.
  • Pay attention to signs including at crosswalks and school zones.
  • Avoid backing out of parking spaces if possible. Park your car so that you can exit going forward

Stay tuned next week for more information on assessing your driving skills and abilities.  Also, we are offering another 55 Alive Driver Refresher training course with certified instructor, Dave Short on Wed. May 3rd.  The course runs from 9 am to 4 pm and the fee of $35 includes your workbook, certificate and lunch.  Call 613-969-0130 to register.