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If you’re over 65, avoid driving during sunrise and sunset – Best Life

More and more adults over the age of 65 are choosing to continue driving as they get older, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). While this is a great way to stay mobile and independent as you get older, the risk of being injured or killed in a car accident tends to increase as we get older due to a number of age-related changes that can affect the way we drive. Nearly 700 elderly adults are injured in auto accidents every day in the United States, and more than 20 adults are killed as a result, according to the CDC. But that does not mean that you should completely give up driving if you are over 65, you may just need to avoid getting behind the wheel under certain circumstances. Read on to find out what to look out for when driving at an older age.

RELATED: If you're over 65, never do this with your phone, experts warn.

Man's hands on the steering wheel, summer roadtrip car towards sunset on a highway.  Close up of male hand.
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If you notice the sun rising or setting, do not sit in the driver's seat when you are older. "Try to avoid driving during sunrise and sunset when the sun may be directly in your line of sight," the National Institute on Aging (NIA) states in the "Older Drivers" section of its website. According to the NIA, this warning comes because "your vision may change as you get older." So as a result, adults 65 and older have a harder time seeing when driving at certain times of the day.

"Several problems are associated with an aging eye that can cause a problem for older adults while driving, especially at certain times such as sunset and sunrise," says Mark Davis, MD, a physician working with Pacific Analytics.

The ophthalmologist examines the patient's eyes
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Although there are lots of vision changes that occur as you get older, there is one that specifically hinders your ability to see while driving during sunrise or sunset. According to Davis, the "most significant structural change" that occurs with age is a decrease in your pupil size.

"Due to the reduced pupil size, older adults 'eyes become more sensitive to the sun's clear glare. The glare from the sun can disturb or hit older adults' weakened pupils and make it difficult for them to see the road. Clearly, which increases the risk of an accident," he explains. This is also confirmed by the NIA on its website. "Depending on the time of day, the sun can be dazzling," the agency says.

Another problem is that adults 65 and older have a "higher probability of having cataracts," according to Norman Shedlo, OD, an optometrist with the Eyecare Center of Maryland. "If you have cataracts, you will get increasing amounts of glare when the light shines directly into your eyes. So the glow from sunlight will appear even sharper and be even more disorienting," he explains.

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Driving in night landscape, hands on steering wheel.
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If you are over 65, you are safest to drive between sunrise and sunset - not before, during or after. According to the NIA, older adults may also have trouble seeing things clearly at night. As you get older, night driving becomes dangerous for some of the same reasons that it is dangerous to drive during sunrise or sunset. "Smaller students are not able to clearly see things at night," warns Davis.

Your eyes may also be affected by "increasing glare from bright headlights" when driving at night, according to Shedlo. "Cut down or stop driving at night if you have trouble seeing in the dark," advises the NIA.

Happy mature woman driving car
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Driving during sunrise, sunset or at night are not the only problems that people are likely to face when driving as they get older. The American Optometric Association (AOA) says several age-related vision changes that commonly affect driving may begin in the 60s. Some of these other concerns include "not being able to see road signs so clearly, difficulty seeing objects up close as the car's dashboard or road map, difficulty judging distances and speed, changes in color perception and experiencing loss of lateral vision, "according to the agency.

"Many eye diseases have no early symptoms. They can develop painlessly and you may not notice the changes in your vision until the condition is quite advanced," explains AOA. "Age-related vision changes and eye diseases can adversely affect your driving ability, even before you are aware of the symptoms."

RELATED: If You Are Over 60, Never Wear This While Driving, Doctors Warn.

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