Senior Driving – Warning Signs You Must Not Ignore

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senior-drivingA Looming Problem

Is there a problem looming?  As we age, our driving skill take a hit. We slow in terms of our response time. In addition, hearing and vision may diminish. Muscle strength and flexibility often decrease. The amount of these changes varies by the individual, which is why there are no uniform laws in place that state who can no longer drive after a certain age. Driving remains a symbol of a person’s independence and freedom, and the removal of a person’s license is never to be taken lightly.

It becomes the responsibility of the driver and his or her loved ones to determine if and when a driver’s license should be set aside. This is never an easy decision, however, so you need facts to help you determine when this is the case. Following are some ways to address this situation and determine if it is safe for your loved one to continue driving.

Key Warning Signs for Senior Driving

1) The first thing to consider is how the person responds behind the wheel. If they appear to respond slowly or they fail to notice hazards on the road, such as bicyclists or pedestrians, it may be time to address the driving situation. The same is true if they fail to follow speed limit signs,  disobey or misinterpret traffic lights and/or street signs.

2) Accidents or near misses.  There are other sure signs that driving needs to be evaluated.  Any medical conditions he or she has need to be taken into consideration. For example, if a person has problems fully turning their neck, this can impair the ability to drive. Make sure they receive regular checkups, including hearing and vision, to ensure they don’t have any unaddressed issues. In addition, don’t hesitate to speak with the primary care physician to obtain input on whether or not your loved one can continue to drive safely.

3)  Finally, pay attention to their vehicle. If it appears they are failing to properly maintain it, this may be a sign they are no longer able to drive. An improperly maintained vehicle can lead to a serious accident. Make this a key priority.

4) Concentrating on a task may become more difficult. Medications can interfere with the ability to drive. Carefully observe your loved one’s ability to concentrate distracted.

These are some key factors to keep this in mind at all times in order to determine whether driving abilities are remaining in the safe zone.

Two Tips

  1. Start the Conversation. If you have any concerns about your loved one and their ability to drive, now is the time to speak up. Don’t want to wait until it’s too late and an accident has occurred.
  2. Implement Smart Changes. The path forward doesn’t need to be abrupt or premature. It’s possible to limit driving to those places they are familiar with and only during daylight hours. Avoiding highways and heavy traffic may allow them to retain their independence longer, and it’s best if they don’t drive alone. Depending upon the circumstances, by encouraging gradual and continual changes to driving habits, you might find your loved one can hold on to his or her independence for a longer period of time, while not jeopardizing safety.

 


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November 20, 2017 |

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