Categories : Places Seniors' Place
The French (France) have gotten rid a while ago of prejudice about seniors and driving. Here is what we find as an introductory statement on the website of their Road Safety Association:
First, let’s kill a very entrenched false belief about seniors and driving: no! you are not globally more dangerous on the road (in fact you actually have less accidents than drivers in other age groups)! You are, however, more fragile, and the consequences of any accident are unfortunately more serious in general. Of course, inevitably, your faculties become more restricted with time… and you may feel a bit less at ease than you used to be when you drive. [Our aim] is to help you remain a safe driver as long as possible.
Association de prévention routière
Other excerpts are just as interesting on that site:
Nowadays, 70 y.o. is NOT old.
Driving is, however, a complex task that requires good physiological capacities and cognitive skills – two things that might be altered with age: your reaction time lenghtens, your eyesight is not as good, especially at night, you don’t hear as well, you take more medications or more often, some of which might impair driving, your decision making is slower and that can be a problem when you pass another vehicle or when you try to merge into a highway.
It is therefore your responsability to regularly revisit the issue: are you still competent for driving?, and to as your doctor to assess you if you’re not sure about the answer to that question.
So what should you do, according to the French, to keep driving safely as long as possible?
- When driving, maintain the habit of choosing various itiniraries
- Keep in shape physically: 30 minutes of exercize/day
- Maintain your psychological and mental faculties: read, write, etc.
- Listen to your body and yourself. Pay attention to what changes: hearing problems, changes in your eyesight, fatigue, etc.
- Carefully read all notices on your medications, because many do impair driving
- Test regularly your knowledge of the Road Safety Code and the new regulations related to road safety
- Take a specialized course to learn strategies that will help you compensate the effets of aging on your driving.
If you can read French you’ll find on their site a few very interesting downloadable documents, including this one, very well done and complete with a quizz and a few tips to help you prolong your driving “career” as long as possible: Avec le temps, comment adapter sa conduite ?