Getting It All Out When You Are An Older Driver


While growing older fails to necessarily constitute a safety risk, when you ought to stop driving is a decision that should be produced by the older driver and the older driver´s family. Since driving is really a critical method of transportation to the older driver, it is also an extremely difficult decision to make. There is no clear cut factor to consider in terms of stopping driving; however, PennDOT continually seeks to balance the safety of our roadways with the impact of reduction in independence, autonomy, and mobility of the older driver.

Older Driver Safety Tips

Have regular eye and medical exams. Near and distance vision is required to drive safely.

Aging eyes become more understanding of bright light and glare, so limit nighttime driving and try to avoid looking straight into headlights of approaching vehicles.

Avoid stressful driving situations such as rush hour travel, driving through the night or driving in bad weather. Plan trips for daytime hours after 9 a.m. and before 5 p.m. to prevent rush hour traffic. Plan in advance. Know your route and strive to stay on familiar roads.

Whenever possible, avoid travelling in bad weather.

Avoid taking medications before driving. Many prescription, over and medications-the-counter, cause drowsiness and can affect safe driving.

Make sure your driver’s seat and mirrors are properly adjusted prior to beginning a visit.

Maintain a safe speed and appear ahead. Controlling your speed and seeking down the road for possible hazards allow you to make adjustments before encountering an issue.

Always keep a safe distance from the vehicle ahead of you. A four-second gap between your vehicle and the vehicle in front of you is recommended.

When driving long distances, especially in winter, call ahead for weather and road condition updates.Warning signs a older driver and the older driver’s family should look out for in terms of when it may be time for you to either limit driving or stop driving altogether:

Feeling uncomfortable, nervous or fearful when driving;

Unexplained scrapes and dents in the car, fences and mailboxes garage doors, etc.;

Frequent “close calls” (i.e. almost crashing);

Getting lost;

Slowed reply to unexpected situations;

You are easily distracted or have a hard time concentrating while driving;

Difficulty vacationing in the lane of traffic;

Trouble watching signals, road signs and pavement markings;

Trouble judging gaps in traffic at intersections or highway entrance/exit ramps;

Health conditions or medications which may be affecting abilities to manage a car safely; and

Frequent traffic tickets or “warnings” by traffic or police force officers in the last two years.