Changes associated with aging may happen so gradually that we don’t really notice that they are there. But when it comes to driving, a slightly slower reaction time can mean big trouble if you are behind the wheel. Here are some things to think about to help you decide if you are still safe to drive.
• Vision – Can you still see well enough to be safe behind the wheel? Bright lights and quick changes from light to dark can make it harder for older eyes to adjust. Be sure to get your vision checked every year and make sure your glasses are current. You can also help yourself be safe by keeping the car windows and mirrors clean and by turning up the brightness on your car’s instruments.
• Hearing – We use our sense of hearing to help us keep track of our surroundings. If your hearing is declining, it may be harder to hear emergency sirens or horns honking that can warn you of a dangerous situation. If you need hearing aids, be sure to wear them when you are driving.
• Mobility – If you can’t turn your head to do a lane check, you may be putting yourself or others at risk.
• Medications – Some medicines can make you sleepy. Talk to your doctor to make sure you are safe to drive if you are taking any medications.
• Brain impairment – If you have any signs of dementia or brain impairment, talk to your doctor about whether you are safe behind the wheel.
Watch the Warnings
There is no one age when people become unsafe drivers. Depending on health, mental alertness, and physical abilities, some people are safe to drive into their 90’s while others should stop while in their 60’s. Watch out for these warning signs that you might be at risk on the road.
• Poor driving