Why are the elderly at a higher risk of getting in an accident while driving? When is it a good time to stop driving?
No one wants to lose their freedom, and driving is a form of independence and freedom that allows you to come and go at your leisure. However, as a senior there are important keys to consider that may be inhibiting your ability to drive safely. Not just for you, but for others on the road as well. It’s important to consider how your driving affects other families who are also out driving.
Factors that affect driving ability
There are a variety of things to consider when you’re trying to determine whether or not it is still safe for a senior to continue driving.
- Trouble seeing
- Stiff joints and muscles
- Trouble hearing
- Slower reaction times and reflexes
- Effects of various medications
Is it time to give up driving?
We all age differently. One person at 85 may still be able to drive while another at 75 is struggling to coherently participate on the road in a safe manner. Because of this, it is best to ask yourself some of the following questions to determine your safety on the road:
- Do other drivers often honk at me?
- Have I had some accidents, even if they were only “fender benders”?
- Do I get lost, even on roads that I know?
- Do cars or people walking seem to appear out of nowhere?
- Do I get distracted while driving?
- Do I have trouble staying in my lane?
- Do I have trouble moving my foot between the gas and brake pedals, or do I sometimes confuse the two?
- Have I been pulled over by a police officer about my driving?
- Have family, friends or doctors said they are worried about me driving?
- Have I been driving less because I am worried about my driving?
If you answered yes to one or more of these questions, it is time to talk to your family and doctor about driving and getting a driving assessment. A driving assessment will help you more accurately gauge your ability to continue driving safely.
What if it is not safe for me to drive?
If it is determined that it is no longer safe for you to drive, remember there are options that you can look into to still maintain your freedom of getting out of the house when you want to.
- A variety of home care services offer transport at your leisure like Connecting Hearts Home Care. At Connecting Hearts, we are always happy to drive our clients anywhere they need and want to go! This is a fun luxury, allowing yourself to be cared for by others when you’ve given so much in life.
- Family or friends may be able to drive. This is a great way to get more quality time in with those that you love.
- There are also taxi, bus and local carpooling opportunities. Check your community for options.