It’s tough to admit sometimes, but things change as we get older. Some things are more challenging, our reaction time slows down. The bright sunlight may bother our eyes and/or it might be tough to see things at dusk. Our depth perception might change. As long as you recognize the problems, including that your hearing needs a little boost with hearing aids, driving shouldn’t be a problem. We may be taking medications that could affect our reaction time.
At Evergreen Audiology, we urge you to not ignore your hearing issues and get a hearing evaluation each year. Our state-of-the-art practice gives you care with a personal touch. Here are some things to keep in mind to maintain your safe driving record!
Vision and Hearing Tests are Important
You should be getting your vision as well as your hearing tested regularly because it’s natural to start compensating for issues with vision and hearing but compensating may not be enough to keep you safe driving. Vision issues, like cataracts, can sneak up on you. So regular tests are important.
Be sure to update your glasses or contact lens prescriptions are regularly. If bright sunlight and glare are an issue, use polarized sunglasses and anti-reflective lenses. If driving at night gives you problems, try to keep your driving to daylight hours. Use a ride-share service or plan outings with friends and have them drive.
Posture, believe it or not, is important. You need an adequate sightline of the road ahead. Sit upright and adjust your seat to give you proper back support. Sitting correctly will help you visualize at least 10 feet in front of you. Corrected vision and hearing are important for safe driving. You want to be concentrating on the road and anything that might become a hazard – not what you are trying to hear or trying to see.
Your Hearing and Driving
Healthy hearing is a big part of safe driving. Turn down your radio or turn it off if you find it too distracting. If conversation takes too much of your attention, keep it to a minimum while you are driving. If you are using GPS, make sure your destination is programmed in before you start driving and make sure you can clearly hear the directions.
Be aware of your surroundings as you drive and, especially watch for the flashing lights of emergency vehicles if you have difficulty hearing sirens. If you need hearing aids, get them. At Evergreen Audiology we are ready to help with getting you hearing aids that fit your lifestyle and we offer hearing health counseling to be sure you can use them correctly and comfortably. You make sure you correct your vision, why wouldn’t you correct your hearing?
Make sure to maintain your hearing aids because feedback can be a major distraction while driving and we can help you with that.
Watch Your Reaction Time
As we age, our reactions slow down, but don’t overcompensate. Studies show seniors with slower reaction times tend to brake too early and this, too, can cause traffic problems. Pay attention to the distance between you and the car in front of you and intersection coming up. You need to concentrate a little more now because things that used to be second nature take more effort. Train yourself to pay more attention to distances and if heavy traffic makes you nervous, don’t drive during those times.
If stiffness and pain make driving difficult, talk to your doctor. Make sure you drive a car with the correct side mirrors as well as vehicle with power steering and power brakes. Exercise will help with stiffness and your reflexes.
Review Your Medication Warnings
Read the warning inserts in your medications. If they say don’t drive while taking the medication – don’t. Don’t stop taking the medication, talk to your doctor about what you might be able to do to compensate for the issues. If your medication makes you drowsy at certain times of the day, avoid driving during those times.
Get that Hearing Test
If you’ve been putting it off, what better time than now to schedule a hearing test? Give Evergreen Audiology a call today and schedule an evaluation. Hearing treatment brings significant benefits to your life – when you’re out on the town and when you’re behind the wheel!