As we age, we can experience a decline in skills that are important for driving. This decline is not based on age alone. But, changes in cognitive, visual, and physical functions may cause safety concerns. Additionally, there are specific medical conditions and medications that can affect one’s driving ability. If you notice changes in your vision, physical fitness, attention and ability to quickly react, it’s important to understand how this may impact your ability to drive safely. The American Society on Aging (ASA) and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) have developed a series of resources that you may find informative.
While most older adults compensate for these age-related health issues, some do not. It’s those who fail to compensate for physical or mental declines and those who do not stop driving if their limitations cannot be addressed, who suffer a higher risk of crashes and injury.
As your medical conditions and medications change, ask your doctor how these might influence your driving safety. Doctor office visits should include questions about driving experiences, whether you feel safe and comfortable driving, and if there are certain driving conditions that lead to more fear or anxiety. Your doctor may also suggest consultations with a medical specialist or driving rehabilitation specialist to best identify how you can improve driving safety.
NHTSA has also developed the following resources on how to understand how one’s driving may be impacted by these specific medical conditions.
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