When Should Older Drivers Stop Driving

HVA • 3 weeks ago

When Should Older Drivers Stop Driving?

 

You've gotten used to checking the boxes of dispiriting things that happen as you age, but this one may sting a little more. Being unable to drive knocks you down to a level of freedom, or lack thereof, you haven't experienced since high school.

 

That may be why, according to the American Society on Aging (ASA) and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), many people drive seven to 10 years longer than they responsibly should. No one wants to give up the ability to go where they want, when they want, but there comes a time when it's necessary.

 

In this article, we will help you recognize if there are any concerns regarding your driving behavior that should prompt you to adjust your routine or forfeit the driver's seat entirely. We also present solutions and resources to help you plan when you set down the keys for good, whether today or in five years.

 

Warning Signs You Shouldn’t Be Driving

Age shouldn't be the determining factor, as everyone's health conditions are different; therefore, the same goes for fitness to drive. It all depends on the potential hazards you pose on the roadways, if any unsafe behaviors are becoming common and your physical and mental impairments.

 

Here are some red flags you should be aware of:

 

·         Drivers often honk at you

·         You have frequent accidents and many near misses

·         Increased fender benders and brushing against the curb

·         Getting lost on roads and in areas of town with which you are familiar

·         Stiff joints or weak muscles preventing you from checking your surroundings and turning the steering wheel 

·         Trouble seeing or hearing 

·         Increased tickets and traffic warnings 

·         Higher car insurance premiums

·         Recommendations from doctors

·         Side effects from medication that impair your senses and mental function

·         Family members have expressed concern about your fitness to drive

·        Forgetting fundamentals, such as using mirrors, turn signals, seatbelts or mixing up gas and brake pedals

 

These warning signs differ in levels of severity, both in themselves and compared to the other signs. If you experience any of the above or have concerns, discuss how to proceed with your doctor and loved ones.

 

Solutions

It's not always a "yes or no" answer when deciding to stop driving. You may be fine to continue driving under certain circumstances; it just means you need to make some adjustments to put yourself — and others — in safer driving situations, such as:

 

·         Driving exclusively during the day.

·         Avoiding the roads during rush hours.

·         Staying on roads you know.

·         Taking a different route to avoid highways and main roads — even if it means leaving earlier to take a longer way.

·         Not driving when you’re in doubt.

 

However, everyone will reach the point where it's not safe to drive anymore at all. So, it's time to think about alternatives and how you can get around with the help of others.

 

Below are a few common ideas:

 

  • Family members – Your children, grandchildren and other relatives can help you get where you need to go. Plus, you get to spend quality time with them!
  • Hiring a driver, using a taxi service or ridesharing apps Local driver services and apps, such as Uber and Lyft, can take you from door to door with as little walking distance as possible.
  • Scheduled transportation from senior living communities – If you live in a retirement community or nursing home, inquire about their transportation services.
  • Delivery options – Explore different services, like Amazon Prime and rideshare apps, to have anything you need brought to your door.
  • Free community-based senior transport services Depending on your location, non-profits and volunteer programs may have drivers to help you get where you need to go.
  • Local bus, train or trolly routes – These low-priced services run on scheduled routes and usually are handicap accessible.

 

Remember, these decisions don't have to be cut and dry, as everyone is different. Just be honest in assessing yourself and your fitness to be in the driver's seat. Keep in mind, the safety of others is at stake, too. When making a decision involving your safety and that of others, it's better to be extra safe than very sorry.

 

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