Keeping Seniors Safe While Driving

Elderly woman drivingWith more people living longer lives, there are now more seniors on the road who continue to use their vehicle for transportation. Approximately 35 million licensed drivers are over the age of 65, which is a 20% increase from the last decade. To ensure that your loved ones are still safe while driving and are not a threat to themselves or other motorists, here are a few tips to follow for important preventative measures.

Take Online Screening Assessments

Online screening assessments are now offered through AAA to evaluate the senior’s driving record, medical history, and vision to determine if they’re still safe to drive. A representative will then drive with the client and assess their skills behind the wheel before sitting down with the senior and their family to discuss if they should limit their time on the road.¬†A driving school may also be recommended where the senior can complete a course, which will also help to lower their insurance.

Purchase a Smaller Vehicle

Many people over the age of 65 struggle to reach the pedals or see over the steering wheel of their vehicle, which can limit their visibility and lead to an accident. Seniors often prefer to drive larger cars that they’ve owned for several decades but may now be a challenge to maneuver. It’s important to trade in the vehicle for a smaller model that will allow them to have more control of the car. The senior should also have a higher seating position for an enhanced view of the road. Family or friends should help them to have a strong understanding of the controls on the new vehicle and feel comfortable operating it.¬†Assistive devices can also be installed on the car to help the senior see blind spots, improve their parking ability, or compensate for disabilities.

Limit Driving Times

It can be difficult for loved ones to speak to seniors about their safety on the road, but it’s important to do so before it’s too late. Discuss your concern for their reaction time or cognitive abilities while stressing the importance that they limit the time of day that they’re on the road. Encourage the senior to avoid driving during the night or in rush hour traffic, which is when they may be more prone to an accident.

Reduce Prescription Drug Medication

Seniors can cause accidents due to limitations with their hearing and vision, but prescription medications can also cause problems. Some medications are more likely to cause fatigue or dizziness and they can make it difficult for seniors to feel alert while on the road. Talk to their physician and discuss switching medications or limiting the amount that they take each day to improve their driving abilities.

If the individual is at a high risk of having a heart attack or a stroke, it may be time to discuss discontinuing driving altogether. Observe their behavior while driving with them to determine if they should have their keys taken permanently due to their current health condition.

At Lamkin Law, we are concerned about elders and elder laws. Contact us today by calling or filling out our online contact form and we will return your inquiry within 24 hours.

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