For many of us, driving is a key aspect of maintaining our independence as we age. By reducing risk factors and incorporating safe driving practices, you may be able to continue driving safely long into your senior years.

Everyone ages differently, so there is no arbitrary cutoff as to when someone should stop driving.

However, older adults are more likely to receive traffic citations and get into accidents than younger drivers.

What causes this increase? As we age, factors such as decreased vision, impaired hearing, slowed motor reflexes, and worsening health conditions can become a problem.

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Aging does not automatically equal total loss of driving ability. There are many things you can do to continue driving safely, including modifying your car, altering the way you drive, and addressing any physical issues that can interfere with driving.

Regular check-ups are critical to keep you in the best possible driving shape.

Get your eyes checked every year. Make sure that corrective lenses are current. Keep the windshield, mirrors, and headlights clean, and turn the brightness up on the instrument panel on your dashboard.

Have your hearing checked annually. If you need hearing aids, make sure you wear them while driving. Be careful when opening car windows, though, as drafts can sometimes impair a hearing aid’s effectiveness.

Talk with a doctor about how ailments or medications can affect your driving ability. For example, if you have glaucoma, tinted eyeglasses can help to reduce glare.

Get plenty of sleep. Getting enough sleep is essential to driving well. Ensure that you’re sleeping well and talk with your doctor about the effect sleep medications may have on your driving.