If you’re caring for an aging loved one, chances are the topic of driving has crossed your mind at least a time or two. Discussing this issue with your loved one can be very difficult but tackling this issue head on and having a plan in place will create peace of mind for all parties. Although they only account for about 9 percent of the population, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration statistics show senior drivers account for 14 percent of all traffic fatalities and 17 percent of all pedestrian fatalities. Seniors have the highest rate of automobile accidents in any age group except for teens. Additionally, the number of drivers 65 and older will increase 70 percent over the next 20 years, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. These startling statistics show that addressing your concerns about driving with your loved one in a timely manner are imperative to ensure safety.
Factors to consider
- Conditions like cataracts and glaucoma can diminish sight and hamper driving ability. An eye doctor can help establish whether your sight is good enough to drive safely.
- Hearing impairments are common in seniors. Not hearing the sirens of an emergency vehicle or a car horn can have devastating consequences.
- Many older drivers no longer have the strength or dexterity to handle a car. They may shrink in height so much they can no longer see over the dashboard. This is especially true for seniors who do little or no physical activity.
- Age is not just a number. Once past the age of 85, vehicular fatality rates jump to nearly four times that of teens.
- Alzheimer’s can impair memory and judgment. Diabetics risk falling into a coma while driving. Even if you have long periods of time when health issues cause no problems, why risk it?
- Medications, especially multiple medications, can greatly impair driving ability. Your doctor should advise you of the dangers your medications present while driving.
For tips on how to stay safe while driving click here.