Age can impact driving skills and abilities. There isn’t necessarily a magic number to indicate the age at which an older adult should stop driving. But there may be signs that could indicate it’s time. Older drivers and their families should keep the following tips in mind to stay safe and monitor when it’s time to give up driving.
Ways Older Drivers Can Stay Safe on the Road
- Monitor your health. Older drivers should receive regular checkups and talk with their doctor if there are any sudden, noticeable changes. For instance, hearing, vision and memory can be impacted with aging. It’s also important to eat right and get a good night’s sleep before driving.
- Pay close attention to physical changes. Some physical changes aren’t necessarily health-related but can interfere with driving. Pain and stiffness can make movement of the affected area challenging. A lack of arm strength can make it difficult to turn the steering wheel.
- Neck pain can impact the ability to look over one’s shoulder to check a blind spot. Another physical change is the ability to react quickly enough, such as noticing the vehicle in front has stopped or slowed. Drivers who experience these changes may not be able to safely operate a vehicle.
- Monitor medications. Certain medications can impair driving. Check with a doctor or pharmacist when taking a new drug, as some can cause drowsiness.
- Remain alert. One way to stay alert is to avoid distractions. Always keep eyes on the road, hands on the wheel and mind on the task of driving. Also, be especially mindful of pedestrians, bicycles, and motorcycles. Pay close attention when merging with other vehicles or going through an intersection.
- Ask for help. Elderly drivers can talk to their doctor about their ability to drive safely. Older drivers who recognize that they are unable to safely operate a vehicle should let their friends and family know and ask for help getting around.
- Some communities include shuttles to popular spots around town and public transportation is readily available in many areas. Further, family members who are worried about an older relative driving should speak up to discuss the issue.
Gacovino, Lake & Associates is dedicated to providing safety information for drivers and consumers around the country. Check our blog regularly for more updates on safe driving and other important issues.