Winter Driving Tips for the Elderly
Driving becomes more difficult as we age, and can be especially difficult throughout the winter season. Wet, slick roads can quickly freeze when temperatures drop, causing roads to become icy and dangerous. By taking certain precautions and being mindful of the roads, the elderly can safely navigate the roads this winter.
- Parking Lot Dangers: Slipping and falling on ice can hurt, no matter what your age. For the elderly, recuperation time can be prolonged due to the age of the bones and muscles in the body. Worse, elderly people who face slip-and-fall injuries may face lasting, permanent damages. If you’re headed out for a drive, be sure to wear winter boots or another type of skid-resistant shoe. Be mindful of the area your car is parked in, and look out for any puddles that may have frozen to ice.
- Vehicle Check-list: Have your car inspected to ensure it is in optimum driving condition. Check the basics like oil, tires, battery, and windshield wipers. Your battery will have more trouble starting in the cold, so if it needs to be replaced do so immediately. Windshield wipers should be intact and functional to clear away any melted snow or ice. Be sure to also check your windshield wiper fluid. Murky water can easily fly up from the tires of vehicles in front of you and quickly freeze onto your windshield.
- Emergency Safety Kit: Make your trunk your safety blanket. We mean that figuratively, of course! Pack your trunk with certain provisions in case of an emergency, such as a blanket, shovel, spare ice scraper, an extra set of warm clothing, and cat litter or ice melt. If you find your car stuck in the ice, cat litter can act as a slip-resistant surface for your tire to create traction on. It is recommended that you store an extra jug of wiper fluid in your trunk in case you run out while you’re out on the road.
- Personal Health: As you age, you body loses the sharpness abilities like vision, hearing, and motor reflexes. Certain pains or ailments that you may experience in old age can make driving difficult. For example, pain or stiffness in your neck can make it hard to look left and right when turning your vehicle. Poor vision can limit you to driving to a certain time of day, in order to drive safely. Pay attention to the ways that your body is changing, and schedule regular appointments with your doctor to ensure you are in driving condition, especially throughout the winter.
- Car Control: Automatic transmission, power steering and breaks are all features that will make driving in your old age easier, but you should still be mindful of other drivers on the road. In the winter months, allow more time for slowing and stopping to avoid problems with ice. Pay close attention to the roads, being mindful of pot holes and snow banks. Watch out for erratic drivers who may think the roads are less slick than they really are.
Keep yourself safe this winter with these elderly driving tips from John’s Driving School!