Driving What to Expect as You Age? - SeniorHousingNet.com
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Driving What to Expect as You Age
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Getting older typically means finding new ways to manage tasks that you have done your entire life. From navigating stairs and walking on uneven ground to new shoes, there is a whole host of things that change as you age.

One of the things that start to change is driving. When you get older, driving can become slightly more difficult. You can have muscles that a sore that make it hard to turn your head and your eyesight can get worse. To make the process easier for you, the team at SeniorHousing.net has created this guide of what to expect with driving as you get older.

Sore Muscles and Stiffness

As we age, our bodies age too. Joints and muscles can become weaker and more prone to injury and stiffness can start to develop in muscles and joints due to arthritis or disuse. These changes can directly impact driving by making it hard for you to turn your head, turn the wheel, brake, and more.

In order to make driving easier as you get older, make sure that your car has an automatic transmission, power steering, power brakes, and large mirrors. Exercise regularly to keep your muscles and joints loose and limber. Consider getting hand controls for the gas and break if your legs can’t safely operate the pedals anymore. Your physical limitations as you age no longer prevent you from driving thanks to updates and advances in technology. Adapt your vehicle to your physical limitations as you get older and you’ll be able to continue driving for years to come.

Eyesight Changes

In addition to sore muscles and joints, aging eyes also play a factor in driving. Sometimes it gets harder to see things that are not in your direct line of sight or it takes a little longer to read street signs. Low or bright light can also cause challenges.

In order to manage your changing eyesight with driving, make sure that you see a doctor eye year. These easy eye diseases like glaucoma or cataracts can be addressed properly and in a timely manner. Always make sure that you wear your contacts or eyeglasses when you are driving and keep your prescription up to date. Finally, if you have trouble seeing in the dark, consider avoiding driving at night or at the very least cutting back. Your safety is the most important thing.

Slower Reaction Time

Reaction time is an important part of driving. Sometimes things fly into the road or other drivers make unexpected moves. Reaction time slows down as you age. This is typically just because you move a little slower as you get older and stiff muscles and joints can result in slower more deliberate movements.

If you start to notice that your reaction time is slowing down, make sure that you compensate for it while driving. Leave some extra space between you and the car in front of you. Start braking earlier than you have to and try to avoid high traffic areas or high traffic driving times like rush hour. If you have to drive on a highway, use the right-hand lane as traffic there moves slower.

Medication Can Impact Driving

Make sure that you know the side-effects of medication you are taking. Some medication can make driving harder or more difficult. Make sure that you know if it is recommended that you don’t drive while under the influence of one of your medications. Read all the labels and if you have a concern, talk to your doctor.

You do not have to lose your freedom to drive when you get older. You can still be an active and safe driver even as you get older. Taking a few extra precautions can simply help you feel safer and keep other drivers around you safer.

Learn more about how driving changes as you age here: www.nia.nih.gov/health/publication/older-drivers

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