As all of us age, our bodies and abilities change in ways that may affect our ability to drive. Vision, perception, reaction time, and physical functioning are all factors that play into our ability to drive safely. Fortunately today, older drivers have many options to assess their driving abilities and make modifications that can enable them to drive safer for longer.
For caregivers of elderly drivers or older drivers themselves, recognizing the warning signs of possible impairment to driving abilities is crucial. Here is a list of warning signs:
- Stops observing signs, signals, or other traffic
- Requires help from other passengers
- Slow or poor decision making abilities
- Becomes easily frustrated and confused
- Gets lost frequently, even areas that are familiar
- Drives at inappropriate speeds (too fast or too slow)
- Unable to stay in proper lanes or makes wide turns
- Increasing frequency of accidents or near misses
Older drivers are mostly able to properly self-regulate their driving abilities, so for those who have noticed any of these warning signs in themselves or a loved one, the first step is to get a driving evaluation. A proper driving evaluation performed by a certified driving rehab specialist will examine the following:
- Medical history and any current medications
- Functional abilities
- Reaction Time
- Behind-the-Wheel Evaluation
Finding a certified driving rehab specialist is as easy as using our website tool or calling your local rehab hospital. Once an evaluation is completed, if a driving evaluator finds deficits in any of these areas, they can either recommend a complete cessation of driving or conduct easy training to improve in areas that need it.
If functional and physical abilities are the only hindrances to driving safely, simple equipment changes can often fix the problem. For example, if older drivers are having difficulty getting in and out of their vehicle a turning automotive seat could be an easy solution that will keep them mobile for longer. Better mirrors, improved space inside the vehicle, and other minor equipment changes can do wonders for older drivers as well.
It is a myth that getting older drivers off the streets will make for safer roadways. Older drivers are often the safest and are statistically proven to be less likely to drink and drive. If you are concerned about your parent’s ability to drive or your own ability to drive, there are many options for maintaining independence and staying mobile for many years to come.
M.C. Mobility Systems works closely with older drivers and their caregivers on a daily basis. We provide hand controls, turning automotive seating, and many other equipment modifications that can make driving safely at any age possible. Contact a mobility specialist today and we will be happy to put you in touch with your local driver rehab specialist and get you started on the road to improved independence.