Older Driving Safety Awareness

December 5-9 was Older Driver Safety Awareness Week, which provides education, discussion, and resources for those to improve safety. Older adults want to stay active in the community doing things they enjoy. Driving provides a sense of independence and freedom that allows connections with families, essential shopping, and the liberty to drive for reasons of your own desire.

As individuals get older, fighting declines in health and experiencing poor eyesight can pose major difficulties with driving. Common conditions such as arthritis, glaucoma, cataracts, and joint pain make driving for older adults difficult.

It is essential to have a nonthreatening conversation with loved ones who are aging and may be fearful that their independence in driving is at risk. It is better to get involved now with family discussions, early planning, and exploring of options before an incident out of your control occurs.

Questions to Explore

  • Can the older adult drive only short distance for safety reasons?
  • Is it unsafe to drive short and long distance?
  • Are family and friends providing frequent assistance in getting needs met due to fear that an accident will occur?

Steps to Take

  • Family conversations- conversations regarding challenges with driving
  • Screening and Evaluation — a check-up with your physicians regarding physical health and eye care
  • Driving Equipment and Adaptations — seeing if equipment is needed to make driving safe and more comfortable
  • Embracing Change — accepting that you are having difficulty with driving and exploring risk associated with being behind the wheel

Resources Available

Smart Features for Older Drivers is a guide that identifies vehicle features that can accommodate visual, physical, and mental changes that frequently accompany aging. The interactive printable brochure can be found online at www.seniordriving.aaa.com.

Roadwise Rx was developed by AAA for traffic safety which is a free online tool to check prescription or over-the-counter medications that affect driving.

SeniorDriving.AAA.com is a website that provides expert advice about how aging affects one’s ability to drive safely.

Please note that there are many other resources and information available to assist you with making a decision that is best for you and/or your loved one.