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How Can Older Drivers Stay Safe on the Road?

Photography of elderly woman smiling at the camera from the front seat of a truck with hand on wheel to illustrate older drivers

While it’s true that teen drivers are at an increased risk of being involved in a car accident, they’re certainly not alone. Older drivers are also very susceptible to motor vehicle accidents. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, an estimated 500 older drivers are injured every day in crashes.

Being older, however, doesn’t mean you should no longer be in the driver’s seat. There are several steps older drivers can take to minimize their risk of a car accident and stay safer on the road.

Always wear your glasses and make sure they have a current prescription. Don’t use an older pair that has an outdated prescription. Also, avoid eyewear with side pieces that may block your vision.

  1. Keep your windshield, mirrors and headlights clean at all times to maximize visibility.
  2. If you are 60 or older, be sure to get screened annually for cataracts, glaucoma, macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy and other conditions associated with aging.
  3. Get checked by your doctor if you experience pain or swelling in your feet or stiffness in your arms, legs or neck. Your doctor may prescribe medication and/or physical therapy.
  4. Older drivers are more easily distracted. Limit passenger conversation and other distractions, like the radio or cell phone conversations, even if you use a hands-free device.
  5. Sit at least ten inches from the steering wheel to reduce the chances of an injury from the air bag. Remember to always wear your seatbelt.
  6. Drive during the day and avoid rush hour. Otherwise, find different routes with less traffic.
  7. When approaching intersections, remember to look to the sides of the roads, as well as directly ahead.
  8. Being older comes with some physical limitations. Be aware of your own limitations to see how they may affect your driving.
  9. If you take medications, consult with your doctor to evaluate the interactions and side effects.

By taking these steps, older drivers can help prevent accidents on the road. For more tips on how older drivers can stay safe, visit the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s website at


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