Winter weather is a big culprit when it comes to accidents involving older drivers. Keeping your senior safe when she needs to be out and about when the weather is cold and inclement is vital. Talk to your elderly family member about putting supplies in her car and even considering taking a break from driving until the weather cooperates a bit more.
Put Together a Winter Safety Kit
Your senior’s car should always have a few safety items in the trunk, like a first aid kit, a flashlight, jumper cables, and some bottled water. But winter means adding some other items to that stash, such as a blanket, an extra coat, and some shelf-stable snacks. An ice scraper is essential and you might want to include deicing spray that she can use on windows and door locks.
Make Sure the Car Is Ready for the Weather
The car itself needs to be ready for short or long trips, too. Make sure that any necessary service is done and that tires are in good shape. If your senior lives in an area in which winter weather is a constant rather than a surprise, then winter tires and possibly even chains are important. Otherwise, tires with good tread may be the most that she needs.
Aim for Daytime Trips
The worst time of day to be out in iffy weather is really early in the day or later in the evening after the sun has gone down. This is when melting snow and ice tends to refreeze and it can lead to black ice and other problems. During the day, even if the sun is hidden by clouds, it’s less likely to be as hazardous out on the roads.
Encourage Her to Stay Home or to Let Someone Else Drive
Ultimately, when the weather is not cooperating it’s better for your senior to stay home if possible or to allow someone else to drive. If this is the first time that you’re having the driving conversation with your senior, it helps to have options available. Hiring home care providers to handle the driving is an excellent solution because your senior isn’t stuck at home, but you know that she’s not fighting bad weather on her own.
Even if the weather where your senior lives is only periodically temperamental, it’s a good idea to follow these tips. Just because she could be out driving doesn’t mean that she necessarily should be on the road on a particular day.