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10 Vision Safety Tips for Older Drivers

Your eyes change as you age. Your driving skills can change too — for the better

  1. If you wear eyeglasses when driving, be sure to keep your prescription up-to-date, and wear the proper glasses for day and night driving (there may be a difference).

  2. Wear high-quality sunglasses (or prescription glasses if necessary) when driving in sunlight. When possible, avoid purchasing cars with deeply tinted windows, which can hamper your vision at night or on overcast days.

  3. Glance frequently from the road ahead to your rearview mirror, side mirrors, and instrument panel when driving. Turning your head with your eyes will help you monitor activity on the sides of your car.

  4. Choose eyeglass or sunglass frames with narrow side pieces at the temples. Wide rims and brackets may block or distract your vision.

  5. Adjust the driver's seat so your vision is not obscured by the dashboard and you can see the road ahead. If the seat cannot be adjusted, use a pillow or other support for proper positioning.

  6. Keep mirrors, headlights and taillights clean and in good repair. Remember to wash both the inside and outside of windshields and windows regularly.

  7. Avoid driving at night or in bad weather if you have difficulty seeing in low-light situations.

  8. Never wear sunglasses or deeply tinted glasses for driving at night or at dusk.

  9. Increase your concentration on the road in difficult situations by minimizing distractions. Switch off the radio, minimize discussions with passengers, avoid using cell phones and keep the inside temperature of your car comfortable.

  10. Do not drink and drive, and always use your seat belt. Remember that certain prescriptions and over-the-counter medications can impact your vision and alertness. Read drug labels carefully, and check with your doctor about side effects.

Reprinted with permission from the American Optometric Association.

Also of interest: How vision changes impact driving skills.

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