Driving Poses Challenges For Older Drivers — Here’s Why
Reaching another year older is reason to celebrate. However, it can also mean your natural adeptness is starting to decline. For older drivers, it’s important to keep a close watch on any changes to your health that could affect your driving abilities. Another year older does not always mean another year wiser, which is why its imperative to stay informed. Below we’ve outlined the top reasons older drivers tend to curtail driving responsibilities, including ways to polish up those skills before safety is a concern.
Top reasons older drivers stop driving
As we age, our health can start to decline for a number of reasons. Most commonly, drivers find variable driving conditions more difficult than years past, leading to insecurity behind the wheel and a greater chance for distracted driving. Other circumstances include inclement weather, nighttime driving, or heavy traffic areas that inflict stress. Although a set of quality headlights will guide you in the right direction, your motor controls and mental awareness might not be as sharp as they once were.
Moreover, the following ailments could easily intrude on your natural driving abilities above the age of 55:
- Slower reaction time
- Trouble seeing
- Physical pain
- Medication side effects
- Trouble hearing
If you know a driver that struggles with these symptoms, take some time to observe their driving. It’s not always easy confronting older drivers about this safety concern, but in the end, it will best protect them and other drivers on the road.
When to know your limitations?
Having the keys to a car is a right of passage for any aged individual. But when certain impairments get in the way of your driving abilities, it’s time to admit defeat. According to the CDC, approximately 8,000 older adults (65+) were killed in traffic accidents in 2019. This statistic showcases the likelihood of older drivers getting behind the wheel even when their health says otherwise. Therefore, the best way to know you’ve reached your limit of drive time is to talk with a physician. They will know the signs, such as joint pain and stiffness, that prevents you from performing your best in the driver seat. Oftentimes, family members and friends will be the first to know that your awareness has lessened. If individuals begin to reach out, try to take their advice to heart.
Age 55 or older? Here’s the best way to refresh your driving skills
There are a few ways for older drivers to improve their driving skills before its time to hang up the keys. Defensive driving courses remains the best option for drivers struggling behind the wheel. You can look into courses with your insurance provider or simply sign up through AARP website. Nevertheless, taking the right precautions early on can help you maintain dexterity throughout your elder years. Sooner or later, you’ll be glad you put safety first before your own independence.
To learn more about older drivers and driving safety tips, visit the website for the National Institute on Aging. There you’ll find an expansive database of tips and advice to manage your driving years later in life.