Ten Signs It's Time to Stop Driving
According to the CDC, over 600 older adults are injured or killed in crashes in the United States every day, with motor vehicle crash deaths per mile travelled increasing significantly for seniors over the age of 70.
If you’re nearing your senior citizen years, plan ahead for the time when you have to stop driving so that the decision can be yours, and before there are any negative consequences – including death – for you or someone else on the road with you when you’re driving.
According to AARP, below are 10 warning signs, any one of which is enough for someone (regardless of age) to begin to limit or stop driving:
- Almost crashing, with frequent “close calls”
- Finding dents and scrapes on the car, on fences, mailboxes, garage doors, curbs, etc.
- Getting lost, especially in familiar locations (cognitive difficulty)
- Vision problems day or night- Having trouble seeing or following traffic signals, road signs, and pavement markings-
- Responding more slowly to unexpected situations, or having trouble moving their foot from the gas to the brake pedal; confusing the two pedals
- Misjudging gaps in traffic at intersections and on highway entrance and exit ramps (calculating speed, time, and distance; high speed lane changes)
- Experiencing road rage or causing other drivers to honk or complain
- Easily becoming distracted or having difficulty concentrating while driving
- Having a hard time turning around to check the rear view while backing up or changing lanes
- Receiving multiple traffic tickets or “warnings” from law enforcement officers
For some folks, depending on their situation and abilities, a first step to road safety for seniors may be to ensure their mirrors, steering wheel, and seat position are properly adjusted. A next step may be to limit driving to local neighbourhoods (slower speed of traffic) and/or daytime driving conditions, before seniors stop driving completely.