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Florida Driver Handbook: Driving Safety for Mature Drivers - Tips to Help You Drive Safer .... Longer

Study for your upcoming driver's license test or learner's permit exam with the Florida Driver Handbook.

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Florida Driver Handbook: Driving Safety for Mature Drivers - Tips to Help You Drive Safer .... Longer

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Table of Contents

5. Driving Safety

Most older drivers are good drivers. But as we age, most of us will need to take steps to ensure that we can continue to drive safely. Changes in our visual, physical and mental abilities will affect each of us in different ways. That's why the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles and its partners have created Florida GrandDriver® designed to help prepare drivers to "Get Around Safe and Sound." "Strength, flexibility and overall wellness help contribute to the ability of an older driver to remain a safe driver.

Drivers should:

  • Always, always wear a safety belt.
  • Receive regular medical and eye exams to identify physical and mental conditions that may affect driving.
  • Consult with a doctor about exercising to maintain the flexibility and strength needed for safe driving.
  • Give yourself time to react.
  • Watch the entire road, from your front bumper to twelve seconds ahead of you (about one block at 30 miles per hour).
  • Stay at least three seconds behind the car in front of you.
  • Anticipate danger. Watch out for the other driver's mistakes.
  • Stiff joints make turning your head to see behind you difficult. Install large side mirror.
  • Turn your body to see better.
  • As muscles lose strength, turning the steering wheel gets harder. Don't swing wide on turns to compensate. Get power steering. If you still have trouble, get a turning knob.
  • Tired muscles and sore joints distract you. On long trips, stop to rest every two hours, and always buckle up.
  • Lap/shoulder seatbelts provide body support as well as protection from injury.
  • Regular exercise can prolong strength and flexibility. Ask your doctor to recommend a safe exercise program.

5.4.1 - Medicines and Alcohol

Drinking alcohol impairs judgment, slows reflexes, distorts decision-making, and hinders coordination. You don't have to be a problem drinker to have alcohol-related driving problems because alcohol tolerance decreases with age. If you drink, don't drive.

Both prescription and over-the-counter medications have side effects that can affect your ability to drive safely. Whenever you take any medication, ask our pharmacist or physician about driving.

5.4.2 - Get Around Safe & Sound...As Long As Possible

Know the Basic Rules for Safe Driving

  • Always wear corrective lenses as required.
  • Be rested. Don't drive when you are physically exhausted or sleep deprived.
  • Don't wear sunglasses in dim or dark conditions.
  • Don't drink and drive.
  • Ask your doctor or pharmacist how your medications affect driving.

5.4.3 - Avoid Risky Drive Times

Minimize or prevent high-stress situations by avoiding difficult traffic situations. Older drivers may continue to drive safely for many years by adjusting their habits:

  • Driving during daylight hours.
  • Driving in good weather.
  • Avoiding rush-hour traffic.
  • Limiting fast-paced highway driving.

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