For most seniors in New York, driving themselves instead of relying on others symbolizes independence, but they all reach a stage when they can no longer take it for granted. If you are a senior driver, you will know that changes take place that affect your vision, hearing, cognitive and physical abilities. Like most other senior drivers, you might be more diligent about observing speed limits, driving sober and wearing seat belts than younger, inexperienced drivers. However, some senior drivers struggle to cope with advancing technology in vehicles.
Medications are available to help seniors cope with the aging process, but some medicines can adversely affect your driving abilities. It is always a good idea to check with your doctor about the side effects of prescribed medications, not forgetting to mention any over-the-counter medicines you use because combining them with prescribed medicine could be dangerous.
Tips for staying safe as you age
There are ways in which you can prolong your driving ability and independence. The following safe practices can keep you and other road users safe:
- Hearing: Have your hearing checked annually, and if there is a decline, consider a hearing aid. Limit audible distractions, like music, to avoid missing the sounds of horns and approaching emergency vehicles.
- Vision: Just like your hearing, growing older might affect your vision, and frequent checks are crucial. Furthermore, it is always smart to keep your car’s windows and mirrors clean and to turn up the brightness of the control panel.
- Comfort/limited mobility: Discomfort can cause distraction. If your vehicle fits your needs with power windows, adjustable seats and steering wheel, you can focus on driving instead.
- Mind your following distance: Keep in mind that your reaction times are not what they were when you were younger. It is always safer to allow enough space for emergency stops, and if you prefer to drive at a slower speed, keep to the right lane to avoid being the subject of aggravated and impatient drivers.
- Plan your route: Planning your route and avoiding busy roads can limit the challenges of driving with compromised hearing, vision or cognitive abilities. The aid of a GPS device can ease your planning.
One more tip is never to leave your cell phone at home because, regardless of how careful you navigate the way to your destination, emergencies can happen to anyone at any time.
Victims of serious car accidents in New York might have questions about their rights to seek damage recovery, and how to proceed. This is where the skills of an attorney with significant experience in dealing with personal injury and wrongful death claims are invaluable. Legal counsel can provide support and guidance throughout dealings with insurance companies and also legal proceedings, when applicable.