Many adult kids express great concern that their aging parents continue to drive. Yet, for more seasoned adults, driving plays an important part in maintaining an active way of life. Most more seasoned individuals endeavor to save their independence for as long as conceivable. One way to do this is to maintain the ability to drive. For many, continuing to drive represents
- involvement in external activities
While more established drivers may resist ceasing to drive altogether, many will place purposeful limitations on themselves as they age. Many will decrease or discontinue night time driving, decrease the speed wherein they travel, routinely travel less miles, avoid heavy traffic. Senior drivers are also more prone to wear safety belts and avoid alcohol while driving.
Having said that, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) maintains that senior drivers are at added risk. According to the CDC,
- drivers age 80 and more seasoned have higher crash death rates per mile driven than all however teenager drivers
- most traffic fatalities involving more seasoned drivers happened during the daytime (79%) and on weekdays (73%)
- more seasoned drivers who are injured in motor vehicle crashes are more likely than younger drivers to pass on from their injuries
Deciding if and when a more seasoned adult should discontinue driving is a touchy subject for their kids to approach. In general, adult offspring of more seasoned drivers should watch for changes in their parents’ health status, driving habits, or general behavior. It can also be useful to discuss the subject with a physician and ways to make sure you are driving efficiently. The Mayo Clinic also gives the following information to more established drivers:
Top Tips for Older Drivers
- Stay physically active-this improves strength, coordination, and adaptability.
- Manage chronic conditions-especially those that may affect driving ability, for example, low glucose related to diabetes or medications that can cause drowsiness.
- Timetable regular vision and hearing tests-these are common age related issues that make driving troublesome, especially at night.
- Understand your limitations-for example, if arthritis is an issue, use a steering wheel cover for an easier hold.
- Drive under optimal conditions-avoid nighttime driving and heavy traffic, or driving when tired.
- Plan ahead-know the course you plan to take and get directions ahead of time to new destinations.
- Update your driving abilities local area organizations like A.A.R.P. offer supplemental classes for more seasoned drivers that may even earn a discount on your car insurance.
While all the published statistics feature certain risks, each family needs to address the issue individually. For more information on senior driving safety and abilities assessment, go to your local Department of Motor Vehicles.