Safety for Senior Drivers by Good Shepherd
Although you can become a legal driver at age 16, there is not a designated age at which your driving privileges must end. It’s difficult to decide when to stop driving, because we all age differently and may encounter medical issues that will impact our function.
Factors that impact our ability to drive safely include: reaction times, vision, muscular degeneration, neuropathy (numbness/tingling sensations in the hands or feet), memory impairment and unstable or uncontrollable medical conditions, such as diabetes, arthritis or Parkinson’s disease.
To promote a safe driving experience for yourself and others:
- Wear your seatbelt positioned low around the hips and across the shoulder – not across your neck.
- Plan your outings during low traffic times, typically 10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.
- Avoid driving during bad weather (snow, ice, heavy rain).
- Limit nighttime driving.
- Avoid drinking and driving.
- Exercise regularly to increase strength and flexibility.
- Educate yourself regarding the side effects of your prescription and over-the-counter medications.
- Schedule an eye exam once a year and wear corrective lenses, as required.
- Plan your travel route before you begin driving – seek out the safest route with well-lit streets, intersections with left turn arrows and easy parking.
- Avoid distractions while driving, such as listening to loud music, talking on the phone or texting while driving
- Consider alternative transportation.
- Continue exercising your brain muscles with games like Solitaire or Jigsaw puzzles, or consider new online options like Lumosity (www.lumosity.com) and Posit Science (www.positscience.com).*
- Attend a AAA or AARP Safe Driving Course to review defensive driving strategies.
Pennsylvania is a mandatory reporting state, which means physicians are required by law to report an individual who they feel may be an unsafe driver. In lieu of reporting an individual, some physicians will recommend a comprehensive driving evaluation.
A driving evaluation allows individuals to demonstrate their abilities alongside a certified driving rehabilitation specialist. The physician can then make an informed decision, based on the results and recommendations of the evaluation, as to whether the individual can maintain his or her driving privileges.
To schedule a driving evaluation at Good Shepherd, call 610-776-8302 or request an appointment online.
Sacred Heart Senior Living thanks Good Shepherd for sharing this information and allowing us to use.