For many, the ability to drive is one of the biggest factors in quality of life. It gives a sense of independence as well as provides a way to partake in several daily tasks and social events, However, with age driving safety can become increasingly compromised. It is important for people to be aware of such changes, however the reality is most elderly people fail or refuse to recognise when their driving ability is compromised. It is therefore extremely important for family members and caregivers to have open conversations about driving safety.
What to take into consideration?
Here are a few key health factors to take into consideration:
- Pain and stiffness can limit your ability to steer and use mirrors properly.
- Fatigue can affect your ability to operate your car, especially on longer trips.
- Vision impairment will greatly compromise one’s ability to drive.
- Some medications will impair your ability to drive, ALWAYS READ THE LABEL.
What are some safety measures?
Taking a few safety measures doesn’t have to mean giving up driving entirely. Avoiding busy areas, bad road conditions and nighttime driving will increase driving safety and is recommended. Additionally, driving style such as leaving more room between cars giving you extra time to react and beginning to break early to avoid tight situations accommodates for difficulty to react when driving.
How can you learn more?
Contact your local DMV about a mature driver safety course. Such a course are designed to help seniors re learn some of the driving safety techniques as well as keep updated with state laws.
When might driving not be an option?
Some conditions such as dementia, Parkinson’s disease and other illnesses can make it impossible to drive. Loss of vision and hearing, mental changes or the ability to react may cause the same.
What are some alternative options?
Losing the ability to drive is hard, but it doesn’t have to mean that you cant get out anymore, some transportation options include:
- Public transportation
- Getting a ride with friends or family
- Car service
- Residence transportation services (for those living in a care facility)