Aging in Limousine Drivers – If you were born between and including 1946 and 1964, you are a part of the Baby Boom generation, the largest generation in American history. And, in today’s economy, more and more boomers are working past retirement age than ever before. According to a recent AARP survey of Baby Boomers, 40% of them plan on working “until they drop.” That’s especially true of workers who really enjoy what they do, and professional limousine drivers tend to be satisfied with their jobs. Driving is a physical experience and requires a certain level of strength, flexibility and coordination to drive safely.
The Inevitable March Of Time
Older drivers bring a good deal of driving experience when they’re behind the wheel and drivers in their fifties and sixties have just about the lowest crash rates of anyone on the road. Fatal crash rates rise sharply however, after a driver has reached the age of 70. But aging doesn’t mean a person needs to stop driving. What it does mean is being aware of tell-tale signs indicating that aging might be interfering with safe driving and knowing how to adjust your driving skills to help prevent problems.
How Aging Affects Driving
HelpGuide.org has a section on its website that goes into detail about how to understand and deal with the ways aging affects your driving. They list warning signs like trouble focusing your vision, increased sensitivity to light or trouble seeing in the dark; decrease in hearing when you don’t detect emergency sirens or hear cars honking at you; your reactions are slowing when you have to brake suddenly or you mistake the gas pedal for the brake; and problems with your memory, like missing exits or getting lost frequently. The site also offers suggestions on how to maximize safety on the road:
- Get your eyes checked every year; make sure any corrective lenses are current; keep windshield, mirrors and headlights clean and turn brightness up on your dashboard instruments. Be aware that the amount of light reaching the photoreceptors in your eyes at age 50 is just 35% of the same light seen by a 20 year old.
- Have hearing checked annually. Wear prescribed hearing aids while driving.
- Get sleep so you are not fatigued. If you suffer from sleep apnea, make sure you see a doctor for help.
- Drive defensively by slowing down and keeping ample space around your vehicle. Avoid distractions such as talking on the phone while driving. If you need to use the phone, consult the GPS or read some directions, pull over when and where it’s safe to do so.
Fit drivers make better drivers. Aging will bring some decline in physical abilities, but research from the Harvard Medical School Health Publication has shown that exercise can actually slow down the aging process which, the research says, actually starts as early as your thirties. Physical activity is good for the heart, muscles and joints, and can keep you more alert when you’re behind the wheel. And watch your weight. Most Americans begin to gain weight in midlife, putting on 3 – 4 pounds a year, and, because you’re losing muscle around that time, the weight you put on will be all fat.