Client Groups – Seniors
Health and Safety of Seniors on the Road
Driving an automobile is a complex activity for everyone. It requires good eyesight, good health and good reflexes, regardless of whether you are young or old.
Driving requires 100% of your abilities
Vision, reflexes, motor skills… several abilities are required to drive a vehicle, at any age.
However, if you are a senior, even with several years' worth of driving experience, you should pay special attention to ensure that you:
- have a good knowledge of road safety rules and traffic signs and signals
- are in good general health
Being in good health means:
- having good eyesight
- being able to easily move all parts of your body, for example, being able to turn your head to check blind spots, back up or park
- having good reflexes, for example being able to brake quickly when necessary
- being able to process lots of information at a time, for example to slow down, change lanes and spot and avoid an obstacle
The vast majority of information required to drive safely passes through your eyes.
Changes in your state of health may occur gradually
As time goes on, even a skilled driver may lose some abilities without noticing. This could endanger his or her safety and the safety of others.
A short questionnaire could reassure you or help put you on the right track
If you have doubts regarding your driving, ask yourself these 12 questions:
- Are your movements limited when you are at the wheel?
- Are you confused when you must merge onto a road or exit the road?
- Do you remember the route you usually take?
- Do you stop at intersections at the last moment?
- Do you need the help of a passenger to drive?
- Do you have difficulty yielding the right of way?
- Do you have difficulty performing certain manoeuvres, such as backing up?
- Do you have difficulty reading or understanding traffic signs?
- Do other drivers regularly honk at you or try to get your attention?
- Have friends or family members made comments on your driving?
- Do some people hesitate or refuse to get in a vehicle that you are driving?
- Are you more often involved in fender benders?
If you answered yes to one or more questions, you should:
- consult your physician
- refresh your knowledge or review your driving techniques
- think about alternative ways of getting around
Your loved ones are your best allies. Open up a dialog!
If you have doubts about your driving, talk to your friends and loved ones, they are your best allies and can give you advice.
If your loved ones notice that your way of driving may put your safety or the safety of others at risk, they can inform us.
Adapting your driving to your current abilities is important
Here is some advice to drive safely:
- plan longer rest periods during long trips
- choose routes that you are familiar with
- choose a car that makes driving easier – for example, a car with an automatic transmission
- wait for rush hour to end before going out
- avoid driving:
- at night or in poor weather
- if you feel unwell or tired
- if you take medication that decreases your concentration or makes you drowsy
- if you have had alcohol
Driving courses: a little refresher is always a good idea!
Driving schools can assess your driving and help you adopt— or resume – safe driving habits.
If you believe that you are no longer able to drive safely
- use public transit
- carpool with friends and family
- use a taxi
- use transportation services offered by community organizations
- use paratransit
Advice on staying in shape… and staying behind the wheel!
Being in good health is a condition for keeping your driver's licence.
To keep your driving privilege for a long time, make sure the odds are in your favour and adopt healthy lifestyle habits.
What you can (and should!) do
- See your physician regularly.
- Take your medication correctly.
- Exercise regularly.
- Eat well and watch your weight.
- Continue to challenge your brain by reading, doing crossword puzzles and playing games, either online or offline.
Driving after 75
Your state of health, not your age, is what determines your ability to drive.
Has your state of health changed?
You must inform the SAAQ of any change in your state of health within 30 days of this change.
Are you about to turn 75?
We must verify whether your state of health allows you to continue to drive safely, both for your own sake and the sake of others.
Very few people – approximately 1% – lose their licence following the medical and eye examinations.
However, many others – approximately 56% – will have to comply with certain conditions, such as:
- avoiding driving at night
- wearing contact lenses or glasses
- driving a vehicle equipped with an automatic transmission