Some advice for older drivers

Last week, I discussed how young or inexperienced drivers can enhance their safety when behind the wheel.This week, I want to focus on older drivers. As the baby-boomer generation ages, the fact is that they represent a large portion of our population.This is a sensitive area. If you’ve ever approached an elderly relative or friend about the decline of their driving abilities, you’ll know what I’m talking about.Most older drivers are too proud to admit that their driving skills may have deteriorated as a result of aging or the loss of cognitive skills. It’s human nature to think we can drive forever.In 2014, the Ontario Ministry of Transportation introduced new testing requirements for drivers aged 80 and over, to renew their driver’s licences. The tests reassess whether older drivers have the necessary skills to operate a vehicle safely.Article Continued BelowThere was good reason for the new tests. According to Statistics Canada, drivers over the age of 70 (as a group) are involved in the second-highest number of vehicle crashes behind teenage male drivers.These tests — which must be administered every two years — evaluate vision assessment, memory, motor functions and problem-solving skills. One of the new exercises involves drawing a circular clock, complete with numbers and hands to indicate time, all within five minutes. Studies have shown that one’s inability to conduct this seemingly basic task can indicate an impairment of cognitive or motor skills — and driving problems. Here is some practical advice for elderly drivers: