Driving and Safety Concerns

It’s your health, not your age that matters most in driving safely. Many older drivers can still drive safely. But others, due to certain medications, vision and/or hearing loss or maybe just simply slowing down, are no longer safe behind the wheel. Some people have trouble walking or suffer from pain in knees, lower legs and feet. Joints may get stiff and muscles may weaken. They may not be able to turn their head easily, turn the steering wheel quickly or brake sufficiently. All of these make it difficult to drive safely.

Elderly DrivingAssessing an older adult’s driving ability before an accident can help make the roads safer for everyone. Don’t wait for an accident to determine if you or someone you know should be driving. Warning signs include confusion about driving in familiar territory, driving slowly, having a few close calls, tickets or accidents, forgetting to use turn signals, drifting into other lanes, and people honking. Hearthstone Senior Living offers scheduled transportation to physicians, grocery stores, and cultural outings through the Activities department.

Exercise can improve older drivers’ strength and flexibility. Hearthstone Senior Living offers and encourages residents to take part in onsite exercise classes provided by the Activities department.

Some exercises to try:

  • Hand grip strengthening to help you hold on to the steering wheel
  • Shoulder and upper arm flexibility exercises to make it easier to reach for your seat belt
  • Neck and back flexibility exercises to help you turn to look behind you when backing out of a parking space or driveway
  • Lower-body strength exercises to help with accelerating and braking

Visit http://go4life.nia.nih.gov/ for more information on seniors and driving.