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Florida GrandDriver® Tips to Help with Driving Problems

 

Tips on:
Hearing
Vision
Changes In Muscles, Bones, and Joints
Medicines and Alcohol


Hearing

By age 65, hearing loss occurs to 39% of people. High sounds go first, making sirens difficult to hear. Background noises can significantly distort sound and interfere with your driving. A turn signal left on because you don’t hear it can cause a crash.

  • Have your hearing checked annually.
  • Turn off the radio.
  • Check exhaust pipes and have bad ones replaced before they become noisy.
  • Keep air conditioner or heater fan on the lowest setting to reduce background noise.
  • Purchase a device that amplifies the sound of your turn signals.
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Vision

Because approximately 90% of the cues you get while driving come through sight, you must recognize and understand these age-related changes in vision: slower focusing, poor vision in dim light, difficulty seeing in bright sun or glare, reduced peripheral vision.

These changes don’t always show up on eye exams, but they do affect your ability to drive safely. Being able to see road signs and signals, other vehicles, and pedestrians is affected by more than just visual acuity.Keep your glasses, windows, mirrors, and headlights clean.

  • Avoid driving at night and when visibility is poor.
  • If you must drive at night, don’t wear sunglasses of any kind.
  • Have your vision checked annually.
  • Clean the inside and outside of windshield and windows.
  • Clean headlights and mirrors.
  • Give your eyes a few minutes to adjust to changes in light and dark. Use this time to fasten seat belt and adjust mirrors.
  • If you can’t see over the steering wheel, sit on a cushion or pillow make sure you can still reach the gas and brake pedals.
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Changes In Muscles, Bones, and Joints

Aging also brings slower reflexes, loss of muscle strength, joint flexibility, and brittle bones. Slower reflexes, combined with even minor vision losses, can make ordinary driving situations dangerous.

  • Give yourself time to react.
  • Watch the entire road, from your front bumper to twelve seconds ahead of you (about one block at 30 mph).
  • Stay at least 3 seconds behind the car in front of you.
  • Anticipate danger. Watch out for the other driver’s mistakes.
  • Stiff joints make turning your head to see behind you difficult. Install large side mirrors. Turn your body to see better.
  • As muscles lose strength, turning the steering wheel gets harder. Don’t swing wide on turns to compensate. Get power steering. If you still have trouble, get a turning knob.
  • Tired muscles and sore joints distract you. On long trips, stop to rest every two hours, and always buckle up.
  • Lap-shoulder seatbelts provide body support as well as protection from injury.
  • Regular exercise can prolong strength and flexibility. Ask your doctor to recommend a safe exercise program
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Medicines and Alcohol

Drinking alcohol impairs judgment, slows reflexes, distorts decision-making, and hinders coordination. And you don't have to be a problem drinker to have alcohol-related driving problems, because alcohol tolerance decreases with age. If you drink, don’t drive.

Both prescription and over-the-counter medications have side effects that can affect your ability to drive safely. Whenever you take any medication, ask your pharmacist or physician about driving.

PHYSICAL CHANGES

PHYSICOLOGICAL
CONDITION

TYPE OF
MEDICATION

POTENTIAL
SIDE EFFECTS
Arthritis and Rheumatism Analgesics
Drowsiness, ringing ears
Allergies
Antihistamines
Drowsiness, confusion, reduced reaction time
Common Cold
Antihistamines
Drowsiness, blurred vision, dizziness
Diabetes
Antidiabetics
Drowsiness, inability to concentrate
Hypertension
Antihypertensive
Drowsiness, dizziness and blurred vision
Weight control
Stimulants
False feeling of alertness, over excitability
EMOTIONAL
CONDITION

TYPE OF
MEDICATION
POTENTIAL
SIDE EFFECTS
Anxiety
Sedatives
Drowsiness, staggering, blurred vision
Depression
Stimulants
False sense of alertness, dizziness
Fatigue Stimulants
Over excitability, false sense of alertness
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