Should you stop driving as you get older?
Wednesday, November 14, 2018
When you get older your reflexes, vision and hearing changes which can make it hard for you to drive safely. It’s a natural part of life.
People age 70 and above are more likely to have accidents than most other age group but this also applies to those under age 25. These injuries can also be more lethal because the older individual’s body may not be as resilient or heal as fast as they once did.
There is no particular set age to stop driving although people often drive for roughly a decade longer than they should.
Some signs that you may want to pay attention include:
People honking at you.
Accidents that happen even if they are minor or you may have close calls.
Getting lost on normally familiar roads.
Difficulty staying in your lane.
You may have a bit of difficulty shifting gears or moving from brake pedal to gas or vice versa or confuse the two.
You may have family or friends that are worried or scared from your driving.
You may also fee nervous about driving yourself.
You might not notice people and other vehicles or they may suddenly appear including lights and signals and signs.
Also consider the fact that your might have additional things that make driving difficult such as arthritis, joint pain and difficulty seeing and turning your head.
Some tips if you have to continue driving include:
Trying to avoid driving at night because night vision is often a bit more difficult. Elder people often need more light to see well than someone around age 19, 20. Also older people need an extra second or so to focus their eyes. Colors become harder to see so brake lights and stop lights get harder to see. Depth perception is also not as sharp so you may misjudge the speed of cars.
Consider enrolling in a driver safety course for older individuals and drivers. AARP may offer such a course as well as state motor vehicle departments and some hospitals.
Try to avoid inclement weather
Try to avoid heavily congested or fast roads. You might need to use the rest room and not be able to get to one quick.
Avoid left turns and risky areas.
Once you decide it’s time to stop driving talk to family or make arrangement for transportation. Consider asking for help or taxis, buses or senior transit options. Perhaps also consider Uber or Lyft.
It’s not just about safety for yourself but others as well!