When is it Time to Give Up Driving?

No one wants to give up driving. Driving your car means freedom to come and go when and where you want instead of relying on others to ferry you to and fro.  At some point though in one’s life, whether it’s due to slowing down, disease, medication or conditions, you will probably have to give up driving.

Best is to do it on your terms. Be proactive, make a plan and ask for help. Being safe and keeping others safe is always better than being sorry.

But first, here are some things you can do to keep driving according to helpguide.org.

·   Annually, get your vision and hearing checked. Know that you can still see and hear when you are on the road.

·   Talk with your doctor about medications that might affect your driving ability. Work with your eye doctor on helping you see better with special tinted glasses for night driving or for any other problems.

·   Get plenty of sleep. Drowsy driving is no good for any driver.

·   Work with an occupational therapist or certified driving rehabilitation specialist to find the right equipment to make driving easier.

·   Purchase or lease a vehicle with automatic transmission, power steering and power brakes

·   Keep your car maintained, serviced and clean.

·   Drive only during the day if you cannot see well at night.

·   Avoid fast-moving traffic on freeways and highways, if this makes you nervous.

·   Don’t drive in bad weather.

·   Plan your route before you leave so you don’t get lost (hopefully).

In a 2018, NMA Weekly E-Newsletter called Senior Drivers in Transition, find more senior driving tips.

Today, there are more senior drivers 65 or older on the road than there has ever been. According to the AAA Foundation, one in six drivers that will grow to 40 million drivers by 2020.

Everydayhealth.com has some pointers about when it might be time to give up the wheel.

·   When you have been diagnosed with Dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease or you are forgetting how to drive to places you have driven to before.

·   Hearing and/or vision problems that prevent you from driving.

·   Immobility issues. If you can’t move your legs very easily to reach the gas to the brake pedal or turn your head to make a lane change or to turn, this might be an indication that its time.

·   You have been stricken with a stroke or diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, Arthritis or Diabetes which affect your mobility.

·   You are taking medication that could impair driving ability such as anti-anxiety drugs, narcotics and sleeping pills.

·   You break a leg, a hip or an arm—this might be temporary but you still probably can’t drive.

When you do decide to give up driving permanently or temporarily, make sure you have an alternative plan in place on how you will get around town. Tell your family and friends what you are doing so they understand that you might just need a ride now and then.  In 2017, writer Vania Silva gave some alternatives to driving in her guest blog post: Giving up the Wheel for a Passenger Seat as You Get Older.

If your family or friends talk to you about giving up the wheel, listen. They are only talking to you because they care and don’t want you to get hurt.  Make a plan with them and be brave in discovering new ways to travel.

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