The older they are, the more likely elderly drivers are to get into some kind of accident. This doesn’t have as much to do with age as it does ability.
Due to physical or cognitive decline, some seniors don’t drive as well as they used to. August is National Traffic Awareness Month, and people all over the country are looking for ways to become better drivers. Those with elderly relatives must evaluate whether their relative is still able to drive safely.
Dangers of Seniors That Struggle with Driving
Because August is National Traffic Awareness Month, all kinds of organizations are focusing on making the roads safer for everyone driving. One reason why aging adults often struggle to drive is that they are distracted, putting their own lives and the lives of others at risk. Seniors can be distracted by a cell phone, food, drinks, passengers and more. They can even be dealing with distractions they don’t even realize they have.
Elderly adults can also physically struggle to drive. Some conditions like arthritis, diabetes, Parkinson’s disease, poor vision, poor hearing, and more can interfere with the safe operation of a vehicle. Elderly people also have slower reaction times and their reflexes are simply not as quick. Of course, many seniors are excellent drivers and aren’t dangerous on the road but family caregivers need to determine that fact on a case by case basis.
Signs That an Elderly Adult Shouldn’t Be Driving
Family caregivers, close friends, and home care providers should get up close and personal on the issue of whether or not the aging adult is safe while driving. Especially during National Traffic Awareness Month, family caregivers must take the time to evaluate their aging loved one’s driving abilities by riding along and seeing things first-hand.
Here are just a few of the warning signs about seniors and the driving challenges they may face:
- Problems with seeing or hearing other vehicles.
- Forgetting basic traffic rules.
- Running stop signs and red lights.
- Cutting off vehicles.
- Getting honked at for poor driving.
- Driving while distracted by a phone or the radio.
- Disregarding basic safety rules like wearing a seatbelt.
- Expressing nervousness about driving.
- Avoiding taking certain roads or roads based on fear.
- Lacking judgment in basic traffic situations.
If family caregivers and home care providers are seeing problematic behavior during these drives, it may be a sign that the elderly person is no longer trustworthy to drive. In this event, family caregivers must have a serious talk with their loved one about restricting their access to cars. They can work with the home care provider to drive the aging relative to appointments, events, and outings.
While it’s difficult to give up the independence that comes with driving, many seniors are safer and better off surrendering their keys. During the month of August and National Traffic Awareness Month, families have to make hard decisions to keep everyone as safe as possible on the road.
Are you or a loved one considering Elder Care in Little Rock, AR? First Choice Senior Care can help. Serving all of Little Rock and Central Arkansas.
Please call and talk to our caring staff today. (501) 916-9307
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