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Trusted Health Information from the National Institutes of Health

Older Adult Health

Tips for older drivers

Whether you are 17 or 87, being a safe driver is important. But aging may make driving more challenging, putting older adults and others on the road at risk.

Why can driving get harder as we age?

Our muscles weaken and reflexes slow, making it harder to react quickly and brake safely. Age-related eye problems, like cataracts or gradual vision loss, can make it more difficult to see road signs or recognize familiar places. Additionally, hearing loss makes it harder to hear other drivers or emergency vehicles.

But older adults can take some important steps to stay safer on the road: 

  • Try to drive during daylight and in good weather.
  • If you have to drive at night, use well-lit routes.
  • Leave more space between you and the car in front of you.
  • Plan your route ahead of time.
  • Always wear your seatbelt. 
  • Never drive if you do not feel well, or are stressed or tired.