Driving Safety for Older Adults
December 2 to 6 is Older Driver Safety Awareness Week. Given 18% of all traffic fatalities are people who are 65 years of age or older, it is important to learn about senior safety on the road.
Changes Influencing Seniors on the Road
Given how experienced most of them are as drivers, it can be hard for seniors to accept there are safety concerns about their driving. It’s important for them to know this isn’t because they are “bad drivers.”
Age-related changes that affect driving for seniors include:
- Limited vision or hearing
- Decreased reaction time, judgment, or attention due to health conditions
- Medications that impair judgment and reaction times
- Poor posture
- Weakness when operating a steering wheel, brakes, etc. M
- Memory loss that leads to getting lost or confused
Night-time driving exacerbates the effects of these changes on senior safety as well.
Conversation Starters about Seniors’ Road Safety
Driving can be a sensitive topic for seniors. Use these questions to start conversations:
- Have you noticed any scratches or dents on your car recently?
- Have you experienced anything frightening on the road lately?
- Do any of your medications affect how you feel when driving?
- Are there any signs on your usual route that have been hard to spot?
- What’s the best route to get between (two points senior should be familiar with)?
- Would it be helpful to you if you didn’t have to drive all the time?
Does your loved one need extra support sometimes? Learn about Parkwood’s home care services.