The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT), is highlighting safety tips for senior drivers as part of Older Driver Safety Awareness week, December 6- 10.
According to crash data compiled by the Commonwealth, in 2020, there were 16,003 crashes involving a 65+ year old driver, resulting in 243 fatalities and 657 suspected serious injuries here in Pennsylvania.
While growing older does not necessarily pose a safety risk, when to stop driving is a decision that should be made by the older driver and their family. This can be a very difficult decision, as there is no clear factor to look at in terms of stopping driving.
PennDOT continually seeks to balance the safety of our roadways with the impact of loss of independence, autonomy, and mobility of the older driver. We offer these tips to help assess and make the best decisions for families:
- Have regular eye and medical exams. Near and distance vision is needed to drive safely.
- Aging eyes become more sensitive to bright light and glare, so limit nighttime driving and try to avoid looking directly into headlights of approaching vehicles.
- Avoid stressful driving situations such as rush hour travel, driving at night or driving in bad weather. Plan trips for daytime hours after 9:00 AM and before 5:00 PM to avoid rush hour traffic. Plan ahead. Know your route and try to stay on familiar roads.
- Avoid taking medications before driving. Many medications — prescription and over-the-counter — cause drowsiness and can affect safe driving.
- Make sure your driver's seat and mirrors are properly adjusted prior to beginning a trip.
- Maintain a safe speed and look down the road for possible hazards. This allows you to make adjustments before encountering a problem.
- Always keep a safe distance from the vehicle ahead of you. A 4-second gap between your vehicle and the vehicle in front of you is recommended.
- When driving long distances, especially in winter, call ahead for weather and road condition updates.
For more information on older driver safety, visit www.PennDOT.gov/Safety.
Subscribe to PennDOT news in Bedford, Blair, Cambria, Fulton, Huntingdon, and Somerset counties at www.penndot.gov/District9.
Motorists can check conditions on major roadways by visiting www.511PA.com. 511PA, which is free and available 24 hours a day, provides traffic delay warnings, weather forecasts, traffic speed information and access to more than 1,000 traffic cameras.
511PA is also available through a smartphone application for iPhone and Android devices, by calling 5-1-1, or by following regional Twitter alerts.
Follow local PennDOT information on Twitter and like the department on Facebook and Instagram.
MEDIA CONTACT: Monica R. Jones, 814-696-7105
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