How do we know if it’s still safe to continue driving? Making the personal decision to stop driving is a difficult one. Older adults are often resistant because driving, for most, represents a loss of independence.
The Georgia Department of Public Health recently implemented an Older Drivers Safety Program as current data projects by 2025, in Georgia, motor vehicle crashes will account for the second leading cause of unintentional injury deaths among older adults age 65 and up.
Driver Safety For Seniors
With aging comes physical change that can impact a person’s ability to drive safely.
- Vision or hearing impairments
- Slower reaction times when moving
- Memory changes
- Stiff joints or weak muscles
- Fatigue or lack of concentration
- Inability to turn your head decreases range of motion and visual field
- Changing sensation in your feet can lead to mistaking the gas or brake pedal
The Orchard at Athens partners closely with residents and families in an effort to provide resources personal counsel and support wise decisions about driving.
DMV Resources For Senior Drivers
If you have a question about whether it is still safe to drive, going to the DMV and renewing your test is a good way to find out.
- Georgia Department of Driving Services
- Emory Driving Solutions Assessment
- Shepherd Center Adapted Driving Services
- CARFIT Program
- Certified Driver Rehabilitation Specialists
- AAA Senior Driving Recommendations
How To Safely Prolong Driving When Aging
Exercise programs, and physical therapy provided by Healthpro Heritage are available for all residents to help maintain mobility for those who can and want to continue safely driving.
For those who choose to stop driving, Orchard offers personalized transportation to medical appointments or shopping needs, and concierge coordination and assistance is available for setting up accounts with services like Go Go Grandparent.
It is extremely important to talk to a doctor about health conditions or medications that can affect brain function and put you or someone else at risk while driving. These changes can include:
- Increased stress and anxiety
- Feeling “foggy” or quickly confused
- Trouble using a map or following directions
- Inability to make quick in the moment decisions needed for navigating freeways or busy intersections
- The ability to react quickly
- Vision change
- Comprehension of road signs or stop light messages
- Abilities to complete the correct sequence of a task
Determine When It’s Time To Stop Driving
Even more difficult can be the conversation we have with someone who needs to stop driving. For help with this conversation watch the below video where Teepa Snow shares some key phrases and steps are to support someone when they are no longer able to drive safely.