Imagine what it would mean if suddenly, you couldn’t drive any more. The loss of independence is a terrible blow to a senior citizen who, because of health problems or physical limitations, can no longer drive safely.
Statistics from the federal government show that people under 75 have relatively low involvement in car crashes. But this changes after 75 because these drivers often have health conditions or take medications that negatively affect their driving abilities.
Older drivers and their families need to be realistic about their driving skills and openly discuss them. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) suggests these questions to assess a driver’s risk:
- Do they get lost on routes that should be familiar?
- Have you noticed new dents, scratches or other damage to their vehicle?
- Have they been warned by a police officer about poor driving performance or received a ticket for a moving violation recently?
- Have they experienced a near miss or crash recently?
- Has their doctor advised them to limit or stop driving due to a health reason?
- Are they overwhelmed by signs, signals, road markings or anything else they needs to focus on when driving?
- Do they take any medication that might affect their capacity to drive safely?
- Do they stop inappropriately and/or drive too slowly, preventing the safe flow of traffic?
- Do they suffer from Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, glaucoma, cataracts, arthritis, Parkinson’s disease, diabetes or other illnesses that may affect driving skills?
If the answer is “yes” to any of these questions, it is important to have a sensitive, non-confrontational conversation with them about driving safety. You might want to go along on a drive with the person to see for yourself. Encourage them to have a vision and hearing evaluation or to enroll in a defensive driving class designed for older drivers (AARP and AAA have them).
The good news is, many older drivers won’t have to give it up. Sometimes, altering habits is all that’s required, like limiting driving to daylight hours and good weather, or avoiding busy highways and high traffic areas.
Showing genuine concern and offering viable alternatives to a senior driver can take some of the sting out of the discussion for them.
For information about this advertorial, please contact
Contact: Tom Kranz
Phone: 908-889-4200, ext. 113
Source: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, www.nhtsa.com.