Many of us strive to maintain our independence throughout our lives. However, aging affects all of us differently, and sometimes age-related factors may influence our ability to carry out everyday tasks. One of the tasks that we most closely associate with our independence is the ability to drive and as we grow older, the ability to drive safely becomes increasingly important. To help ensure that you can remain active and maintain your ability to drive, there are some safe driving strategies you can begin to implement now.
According to the DMV (n.d.), there are some warning signs an older adult or their family should look out for to help determine whether it may be time to limit or stop driving altogether. These warning signs include:
To see if your safety may be at risk, complete this “Am I a Safe Driver?” self-evaluation provided by UCSD TREDS, or a Drivers 65 Plus self-assessment provided by AAA.
If you are concerned about a loved one behind the wheel and wish to talk with them regarding their driving abilities, here are some things to keep in mind (National Institute on Aging, 2018).
Additional resources regarding talking with a loved one:
It is not so important to be able to check off as many of these recommendations as possible, as it may be difficult to incorporate each of these defensive driving tips and strategies to your routine right away. What is important is that we begin to recognize signs of aging, how they can affect our driving—and thus lifestyle—as a whole, and begin to incorporate some these tips in order to remain healthy and independent.
However, should you find that driving is no longer a sustainable option for you or a loved one, consider alternative methods of transportation.
For more information on Alternative Transportation and going “car-lite,” visit our fact sheet.
Dmv.ca.gov. (n.d.a). California Driver Handbook – Alcohol and Drugs. Retrieved from: https://www.dmv.ca.gov/portal/dmv/detail/pubs/hdbk/actions_drink
Dmv.pa.gov. (n.d.). Mature Driver Safety Tips. Retrieved from: https://www.dmv.pa.gov/Driver-Services/Mature-Drivers/Pages/Mature-Driver-Safety-Tips.aspx
Driversed.com. (n.d.). Defensive Driving Techniques. Retrieved from: https://driversed.com/driving-information/defensive-driving/defensive-driving-techniques.aspx
Mayo Clinic. (2017). Older drivers: 7 tips for driver safety. Retrieved from: https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/healthy-aging/in-depth/senior-health/art-20046397
National Institute on Aging. (2018). Older Drivers. Retrieved from: https://www.nia.nih.gov/health/older-drivers#besafe
Riddering, A. (n.d.). Driving Safety for Older Adults. Retrieved from: https://www.visionaware.org/info/everyday-living/transportation/driving-safety-for-older-adults-/125
Segal, R., White, M. and Robinson, L. (2018). Age and Driving. Retrieved from: https://www.helpguide.org/articles/alzheimers-dementia-aging/how-aging-affects-driving.htm
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