How Aging May Affect Driving Ability

It’s a fact of life: aging causes certain changes that may affect your ability to operate a motor vehicle. By monitoring your ability to drive over the years and checking in with your doctor, you can better ensure your ability to drive safely.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration identifies the following factors that could be related to aging and driving skills.

Eyesight and seeing:

Do you have trouble with any of the following?

  • Reading signs clearly and easily
  • Seeing people, other vehicles, street markings and objects on the roadway
  • Driving at night causes excessive glare from headlights

The NHTSA urges you to make sure your prescription is current. Wear your glasses while driving if you have glasses. See the eye doctor yearly if you are over age 60. Headlights and windshields are also essential to clear visibility. Keep them maintained, clean and undamaged.

Flexibility, coordination and body strength:

Have you noticed a difference in your ability to perform the following?

  • Switching from gas pedal to brake seamlessly
  • Checking over your shoulder
  • Turning the steering wheel

The NHTSA recommends discussing any changes related to physicality and driving with your doctor. It is often possible to rebuild these skills with physical therapy or an exercise routine.

Cognition, confidence:

Do you experience any of the following when you drive?

  • Dizziness
  • Confusion
  • Fear/anxiety
  • Fatigue

These changes could be related to your health, certain medications or other things. You probably shouldn’t drive under these circumstances. Talk to your doctor about what you are experiencing.

If loved ones have expressed concerns about your continued driving, you should take those sentiments seriously. They may see something that is difficult to recognize in yourself. Take it as the sincere concern for your safety and well-being that it is.

The NHTSA says in 2018 about 19 percent of all traffic fatalities were people age 65 and older. But not all of these crashes were caused by those drivers. Sometimes another motorist’s negligence is the source of a deadly wreck. In such instances, the family may have the option of pursuing justice and compensation in a car accident claim handled by an experienced attorney.