For many of us the idea of driving means liberation and independence. Therefore, knowing when it is time for us to stop may take the help of others. While advanced age alone is not a factor of poor driving, age does play its role. Advanced age does increase the risk for decline in areas such as eyesight, reaction time, memory, and physical mobility. All of which are essential skills for the safe driver.
- Vision- Have you ever been concerned about one or both of your parent’s eyesight? Have they mentioned that their night vision is not what it used to be? Eyesight is critical for driving, we need to see a certain level of detail when we drive, especially at increasing speeds. We need proper eyesight to notice traffic signs, traffic lights, current speed limits, as well as an understanding of the movements of other vehicles. Without this, our risk for a vehicle collision increases dramatically possibly causing harm to other drivers, and their occupants.
- Reaction time- The ability to drive requires consistent monitoring accompanied with fast thinking. Fast reaction speeds are necessary to safely react to other cars that abruptly breaking, deer, pedestrians, along with taking the correct exit on the highway. Modern vehicles today can travel at a faster speed compared to cars a generation ago. Additionally, the number of drivers on our roadways has vibrantly increased. Proper reaction time by the driver cannot be overstated.
- Memory- Do you think that either of your parents have difficulty remember key locations? Have they ever gotten lost in their own hometown? Memory decline can present itself in such ways, often becoming more pronounced as time goes on. This can cause a dangerous situation, that is mom or dad not being able to find their way back home. Possibly driving far distances in distant directions.
- Physical mobility- Advanced age can increase the risk arthritis, which will diminish their ability to turn the steering wheel, look in their blind spots, buckling a seatbelt, and getting in/out of the vehicle.
We at Copperleaf know how difficult being open and honest with our loved ones about concerns with their driving can be. Telling someone they really should not be driving anymore can be humiliating and degrading. This touchy subject should be approached with care, compassion, in a quiet setting, and in private if possible.