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Safety tips for night driving presented to seniors

By Staff | Jan 19, 2018

BARB BARRETT/The Luminary Al Seidel, community relations director for Elmcroft Senior Living Center presented a program at Meck Senior Center in Muncy Township on aging eyes and night time driving.

MUNCY – Aging eyes is something everyone must face sooner or later, and on Tuesday, January 9th, a presentation on night driving with safety tips was given at the Meck Senior Center.

The topic was perfect for this time of day, when nights are longer and driving can be a challenge under bright or glaring lights. Al Seidel, Community Relations Director from Elmcroft Senior Living Community who visits the Muncy center on a regular basis, as well as 4 other senior centers in Lycoming County, reminded everyone that January is National Eye Health Care Month. He offered some informative precautions and safety measures for night time driving.

According to Seidel, the American Optometric Association (AOA) claims that “age-related vision changes and eye diseases can compromise diving ability, even before you are aware of symptoms.”

There are many changes that can occur that commonly affect an older adult’s driving such as not being able to see road signs as clearly, having more difficulty seeing objects up close, or having problems seeing in low light or nighttime conditions. “You may be noticing difficulty judging distances and speed.”

“The biggest one is difficulty adapting to glare from headlights,” said Seidel. “Bright sunlight or the headlights of oncoming traffic at night may impair your vision.”

Another change may be a loss of side vision. “In this case, eyewear does affect night vision,” Seidel added. He said he wears contacts at night to help him with his peripheral vision.

Stay as safe as possible and use caution when driving at night, especially at intersections, and when taking a left turn. “Look carefully in both directions before proceeding into an intersection, and turn your head frequently to compensate for any decreased peripheral vision.”

Stay away from unfamiliar roads and reduce speed limit if driving at night is necessary, especially if your eyes have difficulty recovering from the glare of oncoming headlights.

Seidel suggested to avoid driving at night whenever possible.

Glasses with wide temples are not recommended because they can restrict side vision explained Seidel. “Sunglasses are not good to wear either at night.”

Advertised night vision glasses are not the best option, and the AOA advises for an annual vision examination to “ensure your eyeglasses or contact lense prescription is up to date”, and to detect any further developing eye health problems.

Many agreed that night time driving is difficult. Most of the seniors at the Meck Senior Center said they keep mostly to daytime activities in the winter.