Driving When Older: Knowing When to Stop
Distraction, drugs and alcohol affect the ability to drive a car safely. Age is also a factor that leads, slowly but surely, to decline in driving ability.
The best way to deal with any car accident is to prevent it. Education campaigns, texting and drunk driving laws help deter motorists from making poor choices behind the wheel. Elderly drivers may not be aware of the poor choices they make while driving or the consequences of those choices to other motorists who share the road.
As we age, physical ability, mental agility and visual acuity decline. Older drivers may experience problems that include:
- Feeling stressed or anxious in fast traffic
- Inability to turn the head fully or other inflexibility that hinders the ability to check traffic when turning or changing lanes
- Difficulty making appropriate driving decisions while executing a maneuver such as a left turn
- Failure to notice other traffic
- Veering across lanes, stopping suddenly
If you or a loved one experiences near-miss accidents or routinely receives traffic tickets, it may be time to consider such options as:
- Ensure that your automobile is properly fitted for safe driving. Adjusting mirrors, seats and other equipment can improve a driver’s performance.
- Get a physical. Poor health, improper medication or the wrong eyeglasses affect driving. Get checked out on a yearly basis to address issues that affect your driving ability.
- Think about retirement. If driving ability continues to decline, the safer option may be hanging up the car keys.