Thursday, December 3, 2015

Winter Driving Tips for Seniors

Many seniors see driving as a form of independence and are reluctant to hand over the keys. While they may be okay driving when conditions are good, the winter can be a different story. Snow, sleet, and ice, as well as fewer hours of daylight can pose many challenges. Before your senior hits the road, make sure they’re prepared to deal with driving conditions.

  • Have their car serviced. Ask the mechanic to give it a good once-over and fill up any fluids, replace worn belts or tires, put on new windshield wipers, and check the battery. You can have a little more peace of mind knowing their car is in good working order for winter.
  • Make sure they have a phone. Remind them to keep their cell phone with them and to charge it before they leave. If your senior isn’t too tech-savvy, there are basic phones with larger buttons and fewer features that are easier to use and they can keep with them in case of emergency.
  • Create an emergency kit. Keep essential supplies in their car such as an ice scraper, a small shovel, extra blankets, a flashlight, flares, jumper cables, bottled water, snacks, and a first aid kit. Sand or cat litter can also help to provide traction on icy patches. Should they become stranded, they will have the necessities to stay safe and warm until help arrives.
  • Travel during daylight. Not only does visibility decrease at night, the temperature drops which can make wet roadways turn icy very quickly. It can be harder to see icy patches in the dark. Furthermore, it is easier for your loved one to become disoriented or lose their way on less familiar roads at night.
  • Stick to main roads. Main roads tend to be cleared and salted more quickly than side roads. These roads are also more well traveled, so if trouble arises, it can be easier to find help than on a deserted back road.
  • Leave extra time. Remind your senior to pay attention to the weather forecast and leave themselves plenty of time to get to their destination. While out and about, they should leave extra space between them and the car in front of them. They should also apply the gas and breaks slowly to help prevent skidding or stalling. If they do start to skid, they should turn into the skid, not out of it.

Encourage your senior to limit their driving during winter weather and stick closer to home. An in-home care provider can help them to run errands, stock up on groceries, and prepare meals ahead of any pending storms. They can also provide assistance with other tasks around the home and with basic personal care. Contact Always Best Care of Asheville-Hendersonville at (828) 989-7263 to discuss in-home care options today.

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