A common question for many senior citizens is when they should stop driving. Age is not the only factor because mental and physical health, along with alertness and reflexes, have to be considered. A recent study from AAA revealed that 90 percent of seniors would have trouble navigating their daily life without the ability to drive, and they do not want to give up their licenses. By year 2020, there will be 40 million drivers over age 65 on the road. If the time comes that a senior must give up driving, non-emergency medical transport is an ideal solution.
When Do Accident Rates Increase?
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety revealed that drivers who are 70 or over have an increased rate of accidents that peaks at age 85. This does not indicate a specific age that people should stop driving. It is more about the ability to handle a car under various conditions. As drivers age, their families should be keeping an eye on their abilities to ensure they can still operate a vehicle safely.
The best way to see how a senior is doing with their driving is by taking a ride in the car with them. Watch how they navigate lanes, see if they hit curbs and if they tend to speed or drive too slowly. Look for nervousness, distraction and delayed responses. Missing traffic signals and road signs is a strong indication that they need to stop getting behind the wheel. It is also helpful to ask the senior how they feel when they are driving and how they experience being on the road. The vehicle should be checked regularly for dents, dings and missing side mirrors. Small driving mishaps are common among all ages, but they can signal dangerous driving in seniors. Loved ones should also speak to the senior’s doctor about any medical conditions that may affect their ability to drive. These include the following:
- Vision and hearing problems
- Parkinson’s disease
- Medications such as anti-anxiety drugs, sleeping pills or anything that contains a narcotic
Senior citizens with the listed medical issues are safer if they do not drive and use non-emergency medical transport instead.
Adding Driving Restrictions
In some cases, a senior may not need to give up driving entirely and can still remain independent under certain conditions. These can include only driving during the day, staying in the local area, not using busy expressways and limiting distractions like phones and car radios.
Losing the privilege to drive does not mean the end of a fulfilling life. A senior can still shop, visit friends and go to medical appointments without being dependent on family members. Non-emergency transport can take a senior anywhere in comfort whether it is in the local area or at a distance. Everything can be taken care of with one phone call, and the overall cost is much less than constantly using taxi cabs.
Senior citizens should not have to remain at home because they can no longer drive. Medical Transport Services offers non-emergency medical transportation for any type of outing. It is very easy to schedule times for pick up and drop off without the worry of fighting traffic or being on the road after dark. Visit the website or call 1-800-687-0607 for more information.