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Victoria Buying, Selling or Leasing Cars - Driving & Operating a Car - Older Drivers and Safety



While generally studies show that older drivers are, as a group, safe drivers, there is a point as people age when driving becomes more difficult and challenging. Often to do reduced vision and hearing and slower reaction time. This is one reason why over a certain age senior citizens must be re-tested to re-qualify for their driving licenses.

Often, to compensate, older drivers drive fewer miles, and plan their driving to avoid difficult or challenging driving conditions such as rush hour, inclement weather or nighttime hours. They can also plan their trips to avoid difficult terrain including busy freeways, school zones and the like.

If older drivers are having problems behind the wheel, studies suggest that they prefer to hear from family members. Families must determine when a person's attention span or reaction time is making driving dangerous for the driver and others. Before broaching the subject or taking drastic action, take the time to observe & document their lapses. Observe the relative's driving behavior by sitting in the passenger seat. Watch for skills deterioration. Look for a pattern of problems, not just an isolated incident like a minor fender bender.

Some minor warning signs to watch for include:

  • Decrease in confidence while driving
  • Incorrect signaling
  • Scrapes or dents on the car or garage.

More serious indicators are:

  • Failure to notice traffic signs
  • Near misses
  • Confusion at exits.

Warning signs that require immediate action by the family are:

  • Confusing the gas and brake pedals
  • Stopping in traffic for no apparent reason.

Typically, older drivers are more willing to listen to the advice of those who have driven with them.

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