Driving is a symbol of independence. It gives us the freedom and mobility to go almost anywhere. But as we age numerous factors can begin to affect our driving. One of the biggest dilemmas for elderly drivers and their loved ones is deciding when it is time to hand over the keys. While everyone should be able to maintain their driving independence, they must be able to maintain it safely.
According to the National Highway Safety Administration, elderly drivers make up 17% of all traffic fatalities. Because of their increased risk of for arthritis, limited range of motion, and other medical factors elderly drivers are more likely to suffer serious, sometimes fatal injuries from a car crash. If you or a loved one are an elderly driver, here are a few tips to consider to help increase their safety while on the road.
- Drive when traffic is the lightest and when visibility is the best.
- Before making a turn, look twice.
- Every year, have your hearing and vision tested.
- Check your medication labels to make sure the medication you’re taking does not impair your driving abilities.
- Be cautious of other road users such as pedestrians, bicyclists and motorcyclists.
- Consider learning more about road safety by taking a safe driving course.
- Do not let grandkids, granddogs, cell phones or the GPS distract you while driving.
Deciding when to hand over the keys is a difficult decision and one that may be necessary to make. If you are an elderly driver, don’t sacrifice your safety for the presumed loss of independence. Talk with your family and your doctor about if/when it is no longer safe for you to drive.
Source: The Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT)