The ability to drive is a powerful tool for mobility and independence. However, as we age we lose the mental and motor skills to safely operate a vehicle. An average of 500 older adults are injured every day in crashes.While age is not the only factor that effects our ability to drive, aging drivers often have conditions that place them at-risk. It’s important to regulate driving activities so that you are not a threat to yourself and others on the road.
Recognizing the signs of unsafe driving will prevent future accidents. Decline in vision, hearing, and cognitive functioning as well as physical mobility can greatly effect your ability to drive. Weaker muscles, stiff joints, and slow reflexes can make driving difficult.
According to AARP, if you or a loved one are experiencing any of these warning signs, you should limit driving or stop altogether:
- Almost crashing, with frequent “close calls”
- Finding dents and scrapes on the car, on fences, mailboxes, garage doors, curbs, or the like
- Getting lost
- Having trouble seeing or following traffic signals, road signs, and pavement markings
- Responding more slowly to unexpected situations, or having trouble moving your foot from the gas to the brake pedal; confusing the two pedals
- Misjudging gaps in traffic at intersections and on highway entrance and exit ramps
- Experiencing road rage or having other drivers frequently honk at you
- Easily becoming distracted or having difficulty concentrating while driving
- Having a hard time turning around to check over your shoulder while backing up or changing lanes
- Receiving traffic tickets or “warnings” from traffic or law enforcement officers in the last year or two
Getting older doesn’t mean your driving days are over, it just means you have to be more careful. You can also consider modifications to your vehicle to help you drive more safely. We want to help you find solutions to keep the mobility you need.
What tricks or adjustments have you made that help?