70 is the new 60 in the same way that Orange is the New Black. Older people are breaking barriers and stereotypes, doing things that people decades younger are doing. When seniors come to my shop, I treat them the same as all my customers. I show them what they need to know about their cars, and educate them on how to be safer drivers, passengers and consumers.
However, seniors do have special needs and need to be aware of their limitations. Reaction time, field of vision and even alertness may be weakened in some seniors. As a senior, you must pay attention to your body and your ability to drive at all times. For other drivers, be aware that seniors may drive slower and more cautiously. Be patient and accommodate them, don’t rush them.
One time a friend of mine was behind a senior who was swerving all over the road. Drivers all around kept honking on the horn and rushing past her, giving her nasty looks. My friend, who had worked with seniors in the past, thought maybe this woman was impaired. At a stop light, she got out of her car and approached the woman. It turned out the woman was in diabetic shock and needed emergency care immediately. Not only did my friend help the woman and potentially save her life, she made the road safer for all the other drivers as well. Keep in mind that senior drivers need our encouragement and compassion, not our criticism. Treat them like you would your own grandmother or grandfather, with love and respect.
After working with hundreds of seniors in my shop and at my workshops, I’ve come up with a few special tips specifically for them.
WAK Tips to Avoid Senior Automotive Moments
- Always keep a cellphone and car charger in your car for emergencies.
- Keep spare wiper fluid in your trunk and know how to fill if your wiper fluid reservoir.
- Know what your dashboard lights mean and what to do about them.
- Get in the habit of checking your brake lights, tire pressure and tire wear.
- Download a flashlight application on your phone, or keep a flashlight in your car, with batteries.
- Buy an emergency car kit or make your own to keep you safe on the road.
- Download and know how to use a map or GPS application so you can get to your destination safely and avoid wrong turns.
- If you take medication, keep a stocked pill pack in your vehicle should you get stranded or delayed on the road. This is especially important for diabetics and people with heart problems.
- When you head out on a long trip, make sure you notify a family member or friend, and keep their phone number and information in your phone as an emergency contact.
- If you feel dizzy, tired or impaired in any way – DO NOT DRIVE! Pull over in a safe location and wait until the spell has passed, or notify someone to come and pick you up.
Download these WAK Tips for yourself or your favorite senior and empower them to be safe on the road and off!