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Healthy Aging and Driving

Motor Vehicle Safety for Older Adults

When you drive, you use a lot of skills, often at the same time. Driving can be affected by the changes that come with aging. Medicines and physical changes (e.g., vision and medical problems) can increase your risk of a motor vehicle collision. Some older adults aren’t as strong (e.g., weaker bones) as when they were younger, which puts them at a higher risk of injury if in a collision.

Research has shown that older drivers are more likely to be hurt badly or die in motor vehicle collisions. To keep yourself and others safe, pay attention to your limits as you get older. Stay healthy by keeping active.

Think about how to use the smart risk strategies below to lower your risk of getting hurt in a motor vehicle collision.

Look First

  • Change your driving habits. If you're nervous on the road, think about changing how, when, and where you drive. Choose routes that you know well. Try driving fewer miles, less often, and slower. Make your trip more enjoyable by planning the details in advance. Drive less at night, during rush hour, and in the winter. If possible, avoid driving when the road conditions are bad.

Get Trained

Buckle Up

  • Always wear your seatbelt, adjust your headrest, and make sure everyone in the vehicle is buckled up.

Drive Sober

  • Alcohol or drugs increase your risk of hurting yourself and others.
  • If you take any medicines, ask your doctor or pharmacist if your medicines might affect your driving.
  • Alcohol can increase the effects of some medicines.
  • If you are distracted or tired when you drive, it can be dangerous. When you drive, turn off your cell phone and pull over and take a break when you need one.​

Current as of: February 20, 2018

Author: Provincial Injury Prevention Program, Alberta Health Services