Healthy Aging For Baby Boomers

When Is Driving To Much Of A Risk For Seniors

When Is Driving To Much Of A Risk For Seniors. Perhaps one of the most exciting days in any teenagers life is the day that they get their drivers license and mom or dad hands over the car keys.

However, senior drivers are at a higher risk for road accidents and traffic citations, so there comes a time when you need to hand over your car keys to someone else for your own safety and everyone elses on the road.

You cannot put an exact age on when you should stop driving, since everyone ages at different rates. However, persons over 65 years in age are more likely to be seriously hurt in a car accident and need to be hospitalized than younger persons in the same crash, and mortality rates in car crashes rise steeply after the age of 70.

Here are some things to consider before getting out on the road. First thing to consider are the different risk factors. Depending on your age and relative health, they could be a problem for you at 60 or not until 90, but they are definitely things to look out for.

Visual decline is common as we age. Depth perception and judging traffic conditions become worse, as does night vision. This can make it difficult to see oncoming traffic, traffic signs, and pedestrians. Approximately one out of three seniors has some sort of hearing loss, though they might not realize it since it happens gradually.

Hearing loss can keep you from hearing honking, emergency sirens, and other traffic noises. Limited mobility is a problem with age as well. Chronic conditions like arthritis, diabetes, or heart disease can decrease your range of motion and increase your reaction time.

This can cause a severe problem if you need to swerve quickly to avoid an accident. Many people need to take prescription medications to manage their health as they get older. Some of these, especially when mixed with alcohol, can cause side effects that inhibit driving.  

Center For Healthy Aging Seniors

We start noticing changes in our body. Our stamina may be less than previously, we may recover as fast from a workout or physical exercise, and we may find our once svelte waistline increasing. As we age, we begin to tire easier and have difficulty in fighting off disease or illnesses. We just assume this is the first sign of aging.

Some elderly people find it hard to sleep at night, causing them to feel sleepier during the day and have a tendency to dose off. Obviously, if this happens while driving, the results can be disastrous. Lastly, mental impairment makes driving more dangerous for both the driver and others on the road. It can cause delayed reaction times, or the driver may forget where he or she is going, where they left the car, or other frustrating situations.

There are certain warning signs that you can look for if you think you or a senior driver you know should not be driving. Watch for: unexpected lane changes, braking or acceleration; close calls when driving or backing into/sideswiping inanimate objects; improper use of turn signals; failure to maintain lanes or driving in the wrong lanes; difficulty navigating from one destination to the next; difficulty in operating the car properly; more conflicts with other drivers on the road; and increased traffic violations.

Sunshine makes most of us happier, and happiness is the key to healthy living. So get out and enjoy the sunshine, but do be careful of the heat.

If you are concerned about the safety of a senior driving, you can take steps to get him or her off the road. Care should be taken so that the senior does not feel it as a loss of independence, but more or a way to live safer, longer.

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