Safety for Older Drivers

Steering Wheel Vintage FordIt’s Older Driver Safety Awareness Week. This is a great time to discuss the special safety concerns associated with older drivers, and to have a conversation about how to help older adults stay active in the community.

While some folks can drive safely well into their nineties, others find that driving becomes increasingly dangerous due to medical conditions, vision problems, or other factors. If you are an older driver, or if you have an older driver in your life, here are some questions to consider:

  • Do you often feel overwhelmed while driving? (Whether by traffic signals or other drivers)
  • Have you recently been given a ticket or citation for a driving violation?
  • Can you easily recall routes that you drive on a regular basis, or do you find yourself getting lost more frequently?
  • How is your peripheral vision?

If you find that the answers to these questions point to potentially compromised driving safety, it may be time to consider creating alternative plans for transportation. You should also talk to your primary care doctor about any medications you or your loved one is taking and how those medications may impact judgement, alertness, or reaction time while behind the wheel.

The American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA) created Older Driver Safety Awareness Week to “promote understanding of the importance of mobility and transportation to ensuring older adults remain active in the community—shopping, working or volunteering—with the confidence that transportation will not be the barrier to strand them at home.” Occupational therapists can help evaluate an older adult’s ability to safely operate a vehicle and provide rehabilitation if needed. Modifications can often be made to vehicles to accommodate a driver’s specific needs with adaptive equipment.

There are a variety of AOTA resources here. If you’d like to learn more, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) also offers some great resources for both older adults and caregivers on the topic of driving safety for older drivers.

With over 40 years of experience, John Schuerman is a compassionate advocate for injury victims and their families while being an aggressive fighter for justice and full compensation for their claims. If you or a loved one have suffered an injury from a motor vehicle crash, call 1-800-274-0045 today for a free consultation. Evening and weekend appointments as well as home and hospital visits are available.