Score one for folks 55 and older: Drivers in that age group are the least likely to have a fatal crash of any in the nation. But there’s also cause for alarm. As we age, changes in our vision and reflexes make driving harder and crashes riskier. Are your skills declining? To learn to stay safe on the road longer, take this quiz.
Q Where am I more likely to crash as I grow older?
a. The freeway
b. An intersection
c. A driveway
d. The garage
A B is correct. As drivers age, intersections become increasingly likely collision sites. The most common problem? Failure to see other cars or to correctly time their approach. Take a refresher course to increase your skills and knowledge of the road and to help you feel in command at intersections. Find an online course at AAA.com/seniordrivers.
Q True or false: Drugs can treat any aging issues I might have, so they’ll help me drive more safely.
A False. Even one prescription drug can impair driving, and most people over 65 take five or more. Could your medicines cause trouble? Go to the Roadwise Rx website (roadwiserx.com), enter the names of your meds, and hit “View Results.” Review the answer with your doctor.
Q True or false: If I wear my glasses, I’m safe to drive.
A False. Vision can decline with age in ways glasses can’t fix. A 60-year-old needs 10 times as much light to drive as a 19-year-old. Because most moves we make as drivers rely on input from our eyes, yearly eye exams are wise. You might also try driving mostly in daylight (especially if glare is a problem), making up for loss of peripheral vision by turning your head, and installing an aftermarket wide-angle or panoramic rearview mirror.
Q What’s a behind-the-wheel sign of advancing cognitive problems?
a. Forgetting your destination
b. Mixing up the gas and brake pedals
c. Difficulty seeing traffic signs
d. All of the above
A D is correct. If you have concerns, visit your doctor: Early treatment can help. Even healthy minds can benefit from DriveSharp (drivesharpnow.com), a software program that can cut a driver’s crash risk by up to 50 percent.
Find more information, tips, and tools at seniordriving.AAA.com.
This article was first published in March 2013. Some facts may have aged gracelessly. Please call ahead to verify information.