It’s only a matter of time before every one of us reaches a point where we are unable to be behind the wheel of a car. This could be due to health reasons, eyesight, or other limitations. But if you’ve been independently driving a vehicle for most of your life, it can be a hard adjustment to lose the ability to drive. The reality is that when that time comes, it is the safest option to stop driving. The last thing you want to happen is to cause an accident and cause an injury, just because you can’t come to terms with the realities of aging.
Many senior living options offer transportation services as part of their communities, so there’s no reason you can’t still feel independent and do the things you want to do without being behind the wheel yourself.
Senior Driver Safety
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) reports that the number of fatal crashes per miles driven does increase after age 70 and is even higher in drivers over the age of 85. Doctors confirm that with age, it’s natural to have vision and hearing problems and decreased reaction times when driving. This puts a greater risk to the seniors driving and the people on the road or in the car with them.
Seniors suffering from serious medical conditions may be at even greater risk of being dangerous behind the wheel. Some of these conditions include glaucoma, arthritis, heart disease, dementia, and Parkinson’s disease. The number and types of medication a senior is taking can also affect their ability to drive safely.
Organizations like AARP encourage seniors to self-evaluate whether they should still be driving or not. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration offers a self-exam for seniors to see if any symptoms they are experiencing could affect how they drive. AARP also offers online and classroom safety courses for seniors. An added perk of taking a course like this is that it could lower your auto insurance costs.
Plus, there are more options for non-drivers today than ever. Set your senior up with rideshare apps on their smartphone for Lyft, Uber, or local taxi service.
Signs of Unsafe Senior Driving
Many seniors do not want to admit that they shouldn’t be behind the wheel of a car anymore. Giving up that independence can be difficult. Some may feel that giving up driving puts an undue burden on family and friends. This is why a senior living community is such a great place for seniors to spend their golden years. At a senior living community like Westminster Place, seniors can have the convenience of built-in transportation services when needed, giving them—and you—the peace of mind that they can still get where they need somewhat independently.
Some of the signs that a senior in your life should not be driving include:
- They frequently get lost going to a familiar location
- Someone you know notices their poor driving and lets you know about it
- They have had a “too close for comfort” near accident on one or more recent occasions
- You notice damage to their car that they can’t recall happening
- You experience their unsafe driving as a passenger in their car
- They confuse the brake and gas pedals in the car
- They have trouble seeing signs and traffic signals when driving
- The noise of car horns or traffic noise easily startles them
- They drive too slow or too fast
Westminster Place Offers Transportation Services With All Senior Living Options
Talk to your loved one about the need for them to stop driving as soon as you see signs that they shouldn’t be behind the wheel. The sooner you do this, the sooner you can prevent them from the possibility of hurting themselves or others on the road.
At Westminster Place, we offer transportation services for seniors as part of our senior living communities. These services can be utilized to get to an off-site doctor’s appointment, take a trip to the store, or visit family.