Do you enjoy the freedom that comes with being able to drive your own car? Popping out for groceries or picking up your grandkids from school is a breeze with four wheels under you. However, safety is a major issue, especially as your reaction times get a little slower, and your hearing isn’t quite as sharp as it used to be. If you’re driving with hearing loss, take steps to keep yourself and everyone else on the road safe. Here are a few tips on driving safely this summer.
Can You See Clearly?
Driving is about more than just following traffic signs or understanding driving laws. It’s about being aware of all the things happening around you. One of the most important thing that will keep you safe is accurate vision. When was the last time you visited an optometrist or got your vision checked? It’s important to be able to see what’s happening around you, from pedestrians crossing the street to a sudden bake by the car in front of you, or even the emergency lights growing larger in your rearview mirrors. You should be getting your eyesight checked every one to two years to make sure your vision is crystal clear. If you wear glasses, make sure your prescription is always up to date.
Do you suffer from cataracts or other vision problems? Be sure to seek treatment before getting behind the wheel. Another great vision tip for driving is to invest in polarized sunglasses. These will cut the glare from the sun, or the harsh reflection on the cars around you. If your nighttime vision isn’t as good as it used to be, avoid driving in the dark.
Can You Move Easily?
With aging comes a lot of physical changes, from stiff legs to joint pain or weak muscles. These can make it harder to drive safely. If you have a lot of pain, consult your doctor on ways to manage pain and keep you on the road. Keep active! Take the dog out for walks, join an exercise class, or take the grandkids to the park. This will keep you fit and pain-free, and make it easier to drive.
Make adjustments to your vehicle to make it work for you. Use large mirrors so you don’t have to twist your neck as much, and make sure your power steering and power brakes are in good working order.
Can You React Quickly?
As we age, our reaction times get a lot slower and it’s hard to act quickly. It’s important to be aware of this, and make the appropriate adjustments so you’ll have plenty of time. Never tail the vehicle in front of you, but leave some space. If they brake suddenly, you’ll need time to realize what’s happening in order to brake and avoid hitting them. Take quiet side streets if you can, and steer clear of high-traffic areas. Don’t get stuck in rush hour traffic where it’s harder to leave enough space to be safe. Keep focused on the road, and try to anticipate any problems so that you’re prepared to act. This will cut down on your reaction time, and keep you, and others on the road, safe.
Can You Hear Clearly?
If you have trouble hearing, you’re not safe on the road. Turn down the radio and ask passengers to be quiet so you can focus on the sounds around the car. Can you hear the emergency siren, or the honking from the car behind you? What about the shout from a parent whose child just ran into the road?
Every single time you get behind the wheel, it’s your responsibility to keep yourself and those around you safe. Hearing loss comes between you and safely by making it hard to notice shouts, honks, and sirens. If you know your hearing isn’t great, you are putting yourself and your loved ones at risk. Follow these tips and visit the definitive list of driving safety resources for senior drivers for more guidelines on safe driving.
If you think you’re not hearing clearly, visit Atlanta Hearing Doctor and let us help you drive safely. We’ll assess your hearing, and help you pick the perfect hearing device to match your needs. To ensure your best hearing health, contact us at Atlanta Hearing Doctor. We provide comprehensive hearing screenings and hearing aid fittings.