[Title: Ministry of Transportation - Renewing a G driver’s license: 80 years and over]
Narrator: You're 80 and it's time for your driver's license renewal.
The Ministry of Transportation will be conducting this simple process at various locations to keep you safe on the road and driving longer.
Consider this a driver refresher.
Some of the changes that can happen to your body may include: change of vision, reaction time, concentration, decision making, memory, and even flexibility and movement, which can affect safe operations of a motor vehicle.
And that's why, statistically, seniors do have an increased risk of being involved in a motor vehicle collision.
Take a look at this study from 2018: as drivers approach their 80s they have a similar risk of being involved in a motor vehicle collision as that of a new driver.
For starters, just consider the way your eyes are changing, and think about how crucial your vision is to driving.
Night driving can become more difficult and you may be more sensitive to glare. It could be harder to judge distance and rely on your peripheral vision the way you once did. Conditions such as cataracts, glaucoma, and other types of degeneration can make this even worse.
Along with your vision, your reaction time can be affected as you get older.
You may have slower responses to driving situations, it might be harder to concentrate, and distractions could become more problematic.
Other medical conditions such as tremors, stroke, early Parkinson's disease, will require extra awareness and reaction time.
As we get older, we can experience difficulties with flexibility, movement and strength.
If your body stiffens or weakens, you will not have the same range of motion and checking your blind spots and other tasks become a lot harder. Arthritis, osteoporosis, Parkinson's can all effect how you drive.
Change is inevitable as we age and may affect all of us differently; cognitive ability is no different. Frequent memory lapses, difficulty in decision making and processing information bring an additional element of concern to operating a vehicle.
For example, early Alzheimer's, dementia, or stroke can all impair your ability to think quickly and operate a motor vehicle safely.
It is also important to consider how prescription medication can affect safe driving.
And it's not just one medication, but the combination of different prescriptions all drivers must be aware of. Side effects could include: drowsiness, blurred vision, tremors and slow reaction time.
Best practice is to talk to your doctor or pharmacist to determine how your medication will affect your driving.
Now that we've discussed physical and cognitive challenges, let's talk about the rules of the road.
Let's start with intersections, which is a very common place for collisions.
Drivers are sometimes unclear about who should be given the right of way, speed of approaching vehicles and other road safety factors such as pedestrians, cyclists, etc.
They may also not notice a traffic sign or signal, or just underestimate the space needed to make a safe turn.
Always pay special attention to pedestrians who may need more time to cross the road, particularly when turning left.
At a Pedestrian Crossover where there are pedestrians, you must always stop, yield, and wait for all pedestrians to completely cross the roadway. Crossover rules also apply to school crossings and where there is a crossing guard.
Intersections also include roundabouts. Here are three simple things to remember for roundabouts: as you enter, stay to the right to go right or to go straight, otherwise go to the left if turning left; when entering, yield to the traffic already in the roundabout; and do not stop in the roundabout.
Let's talk about merging. It's a natural tendency for drivers to want to slow down when entering a busy roadway, however, the acceleration lane is used to speed up to properly merge. Signal first to indicate where you want to go, accelerate to traffic speed, check your blind spots, and merge into traffic safely.
Road signs also play a big part to road safety, and you are encouraged to review common road signs which you'll find in the updated official MTO driver's handbook which is available online or in printed format.
Yield signs are often misunderstood. As a reminder, "yield" means you must let traffic in the intersection or close to it go first; stop if necessary and go only when the way is clear. Remember that yellow warning signs let you know what's coming up ahead, and signs with a white or black background are regulatory and must be obeyed.
Technology is constantly emerging, and it is the same for vehicles and driving. Technology can be helpful, but it can also be a huge distraction. In Ontario, it is illegal to handle any form of hand-held electronic communication device while you are operating a motor vehicle.
Advanced vehicle technologies such as GPS, blind spot collision warning with lane change assist, rear cross traffic collision warning, and forward collision avoidance are there to help you drive safely, but cannot replace your work as a driver.
Driving is not a simple task; it's worth all the extra consideration.
Some of you may wonder: when is the right time to stop driving?
Well, it's best to seek advice from your doctor, a family member, or a friend. Let's recap some of the points in our video today: We are all responsible for road safety. Get regular check-ups and talk to your doctor. Use caution when taking medication if you plan on driving. Be careful and only drive within your comfort zone.
After you watch this video, the next step to renew your licence will be to call the Ministry of Transportation to schedule an appointment for your cognitive and vision testing.
Please bring your driver's licence, and any corrective lenses you require for reading and distance.
To schedule your appointment, please call the Ministry of Transportation at 1-800-396-4233 or 416-235-3579, and we'll see you on the road.