Driving safely

If you’re not sure whether you’re still safe behind the wheel, it might be worth going for a drive with a younger friend or relative.
The following adapted check list courtesy of the New Zealand Transport Agency may also help to distinguish whether problems driving are ‘one-off’ or frequent.

Are you:

•    Not as confident as you once were
•    Having difficulty turning to see when reversing
•    Noticing scratches or dents on the car, mailbox or garage
•    Getting agitated or irritated while driving
•    Driving too fast or too slowly for the conditions
•    Failing to spot a hazard (such as a pedestrian running across the road)
•    Relying on a co-pilot (a passenger giving you instructions while driving)
•    Failing to keep within your lane
•     Failing to stop at a stop sign or red light
•    Confusing the accelerator and brake pedals
•    You have received an infringement offence notice (traffic ticket)
•    You get lost in familiar places

Driving and your health

There are many different conditions which can affect you when driving or using the roads as a pedestrian.

Medication - Check warning labels on medication and don't drive if the medicine causes sleepiness, nausea, blurred or double vision, dizziness and shaking. Check with your doctor or pharmacist if you are not sure about the effects of your medication.

Vision - Whether you are using the roads as a driver or as a pedestrian, vision naturally deteriorates as we age. It is important to wear spectacles if they have been prescribed and to also have regular eye checks.

Flexibility - Some seniors may experience reduced flexibility and slower reaction time. These factors can also affect driving ability and your safety as a pedestrian. In addition, hearing problems, dementia and heart disease may also impact on a senior’s ability to drive safely or use the roads as a pedestrian.

Alternative Transport

WA Seniors can travel for free on all Transperth services between 9am and 3:30pm Monday to Friday and all day Saturday, Sunday and public holidays. All you need is a Seniors, Pensioner or Veterans SmartRider.

Listen to Road Safety Council Chairman Iain Cameron talk to the ABC’s Geoff Hutchison about the safety of senior drivers

  Play audio