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When Is Too Old to Drive? Avoid Mr. Magoo

Written by Ysmay.

Photo by Mark TurnauckasPhoto by Mark Turnauckas

Driving is something most adults take for granted, at least until they reach an age where their health or vision problems can interfere with their ability to drive safely. Even despite these problems, many retirees in Florida are still enjoying the freedom and independence that driving can bring.

What does this mean to the rest of us on the roads?

If a person is 80 years of age or older at the time they want to renew their license in Florida, they will need to take and pass a vision test to complete the process. Once the vision test is completed, they will be able to renew in person, on the phone or via the Internet. Depending on the situation, they may need to take a written test as well. If they have any health conditions that could cause a temporary lapse of consciousness, or if they are unable to pass the vision test for any reason, they will not be able to renew their license.

In a state populated by many retirees, it is important that all drivers share the road fairly and safely. Older drivers have the same rights as anybody else. Some may be driving older model cars with less safety equipment so they may sustain more injuries in accidents. It would be to everyone's advantage to not get into a fender bender with an older driver.

Safety Tips For Senior Drivers

1. Be Healthy

It's great if a senior citizen is able to renew his license and continue driving, but it's still very important that he be extra mindful of safety on the roads. Eyesight deteriorates with age, which means he should commit to getting regular eye exams in between driver's license renewals. It's also crucial for a senior to get regular medical exams, as this will give him a clean bill of health and catch any problems that could interfere with his driving in the future.

2. Be Organized

As people grow older, reaction times may slow down considerably. It's a good idea for senior drivers of all ages to plan ahead and avoid the roads during peak traffic times. Instead of heading out to pick up groceries and run other errands during the morning or evening rush, choose quieter times like mid-afternoon or mid-morning. Not only will there be less people on the roads, but there will also be less foot traffic and shorter checkout lines at the groceries. Seniors should always avoid night driving as well, because headlight glare on a windshield can make driving more difficult for those with weak vision.

3. Be Mindful

If a senior feels he needs a refresher driving course, he should visit the DMV website and order a copy of the handbook. Reading it will remind him of particular rules and regulations that he may have forgotten. If a senior is cited for any traffic infractions and feels that he has been singled out by the authorities because of his age, he needs to contact a Florida traffic citation lawyer to get the charges dismissed so he can keep his driving privileges.

Safety Tips for Non-Senior Drivers

1. Be Patient 

If you find yourself behind a vehicle being driven by a senior citizen, practice patience. They may be driving under the speed limit, but don't hover on their back bumper. Give them room and then pass them when you can safely. Allow extra time for their delayed reactions and give them a wide space between your car and theirs.

2. Be Considerate 

Don't be a threat and make sudden moves which might startle an older driver. Yield to them at stop signs and merge lanes. Don't cut them off or make quick turns into their blind spots because a senior's peripheral vision might be compromised.

3. Be Responsible 

If you do happen to get into an accident with a senior citizen, be helpful if they need assistance in getting out of their car, finding their documentation, or if they need any medical attention. Don't yell and put blame on them. An accident is cause for stress for anybody. Don't exacerbate the situation by being disrespectful. Imagine that they could be one of your grandparents and how you would like others to treat them.

Growing older isn't easy for anyone, but if a person faces it with honesty and humor, the transition into the golden years should be a positive and healthy one. Driving is a wonderful privilege, but it isn't worth a life. If a driver needs to slow down, wait a few minutes or even skip the trip all together, he should not hesitate to do so, in fear that he might be ridiculed or abased. Public transportation is always an affordable, convenient and environmentally friendly option for both
seniors and non-seniors.


About The Author

Debbie Nguyen's 86-year-old mother has just renewed her license this past summer, even though her time behind the wheel is limited. Seniors living in the Sunshine State should consult a Florida traffic citation lawyer if they get involved in any accidents.

Photo Credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/marktee/9204565720/

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