Older Drivers

When it comes to getting older then you will experience many different changes. Some of these changes may well have an impact on your driving abilities. Driving creates a great sense of independence and freedom. However, if older drivers’ skills are beginning to decline then it may be important to start thinking about alternatives to driving. Whether you are an older driver yourself or need to speak to an older driver about their driving then it is important to know what is going on.

Eyesight

It is a fact of life that as people age then their eyesight tends to start deteriorating. This means that when it comes to driving then any problems with vision are going to cause driving difficulties. It is important if the older person is prescribed glasses then they always wear them whilst driving. This will help ensure that their vision is as good as it can be. You should also ensure that they don’t use tinted lenses or sunglasses at night. Night vision can be the first part of the eyesight to become impaired. So particular care should be taken when driving at dusk or dawn. Older eyes can be more sensitive to light. 

Physical Fitness

Older drivers must constantly assess their physical fitness when it comes to driving. It is important to make sure that they are still able to operate the vehicle with no impairment. If they start experiencing problems with changing lanes or looking left or right at intersections. If they have trouble moving their feet between the gas pedals and brakes or turning the steering wheel. If they are unable to walk more than a block or two at time. These are all signs of failing physical condition. If the older person is experiencing problems with any of these then it may be time for them to consider talking to their physician about exercises that can help maintain or improve their physical condition.

Watch For Changes

The most important aspect of being an older driver is to constantly reassess their driving ability. Sometimes the driver themselves can be the least capable of assessing their driving ability, so it can be down to friends or families to have conversations with the driver.  The most important aspect is to maintain public safety. An older driver with impaired ability isn’t just endangering themselves but is also endangering all other road users. Their reaction times may be slower, and they may have difficulties controlling their vehicles. They may also become complacent. The ‘I have driven this road for years; therefore, I know all about it’ syndrome can cause them to not adapt well to changes. It is also not likely that they want to give up their ability to drive, and if the older driver is beginning to show signs of dementia then this can all impact on their ability to self-assess their driving ability. When it comes to driving then it is always better to be safe than sorry.