The topic of whether or not an older driver in the family is safe behind the wheel can be difficult to discuss. It isn’t uncommon for families to avoid it completely. Doing so, however, can put a senior loved one in danger.
In honor of Older Driver Awareness Week, we are sharing tips for assessing a senior’s fitness for driving.
Is Your Senior Loved One a Safe Driver?
Evaluating an older adult’s driving abilities can be difficult. Because people have different health conditions that impact their safety, age alone can’t be the determining factor. Here are a few ways to take an objective look at your senior loved one’s driving skills:
- Inspect their vehicle and garage: The condition of your senior loved one’s vehicle and garage can give you a good indication of how safe they are driving. More than a few dents and scrapes on bumpers, side panels, and side mirrors can indicate a problem. The senior might be bumping in to things and not even realize it.
- Conduct a ride along: One of the best ways to evaluate your family member’s skills is to ride along with them. Pay attention to how well they follow the rules of the road. Do they stay in their own lane? Drifting across the center lane puts them and other drivers at risk. Are they able to turn their neck and shoulders to check for traffic when pulling out of a parking spot or merging in to traffic? Do they keep up with the flow of traffic? Driving too slowly can be almost as dangerous as speeding.
- Encourage a vision exam: Seniors don’t always stay on track with yearly vision tests. They might not be aware of how much their vision has worsened. If peripheral vision has decreased or nighttime vision has diminished, adjustments to their driving schedule are necessary.
If your evaluation of a senior driver’s safety leaves you feeling concerned, it might be best to find a local resource to conduct a formal driving assessment. It can provide you with an unbiased look at the older adult’s skills.
There are a variety of organizations that often offer formal driving assessments. Senior centers, hospitals, AAA, and your local agency on aging are a few to investigate.
Transportation at Five Star Senior Living
One of the services our residents appreciate most is transportation. This service allows them to safely make their way to local shopping centers, medical appointments, and more.
Knowing they are free to hang up their car keys gives residents peace of mind. It also saves them money on car-related expenses.
To learn more about resident transportation at Five Star Senior Living, please call the community nearest you to schedule a private tour!