Submitted by Villas of Holly Brook
At age 78, Sheila thinks she’s a good driver, but, this year, she’s had a minor accident and several near misses. She’s noticed a few new dents on her car and doesn’t know how they got there. Sheila wonders how she can stay safe behind the wheel.
Have you been worried about your driving? Have your family or friends expressed concern? Changes in your health may affect your driving skills over time. We all age differently. For this reason, there is no way to set one age when everyone should stop driving. So, how do you know if you should stop? To help decide, ask yourself:
- Do other drivers often honk at me?
- Have I had some accidents, even if they were only “fender benders”?
- Do I get lost, even on roads I know?
- Do cars or people walking seem to appear out of nowhere?
- Do I get distracted while driving?
- Have family, friends, or my doctor said they’re worried about my driving?
- Am I driving less these days because I’m not as sure about my driving as I used to be?
- Do I have trouble staying in my lane?
- Do I have trouble moving my foot between the gas and the brake pedals, or do I sometimes confuse the two?
- Have I been pulled over by a police officer about my driving?
If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, it may be time to talk with your doctor about driving or have a driving assessment.
How Will You Get Around?
Are you worried you won’t be able to do the things you want and need to do if you stop driving? Many people have this concern, but there may be more ways to get around than you think. For example, some areas provide free or low-cost bus or taxi services for older people. Some retirement communities offer transportation to doctor’s appointments or scheduled trips to the grocery store or mall. Religious and civic groups sometimes have volunteers who will drive you where you want to go.
You can also think about using a car or ride-sharing service. Sound pricey? Don’t forget—it costs a lot to own a car. If you don’t have to make car payments or pay for insurance, maintenance, gas, oil, or other car expenses, then you may be able to afford to take taxis or other transportation. You can also buy gas for friends or family members who give you rides.
More Safe Driving Tips
Before you leave home:
- Plan to drive on streets you know.
- Only drive to places that are easy to get to and close to home.
- Avoid risky spots like ramps and left turns.
- Add extra time for travel if you must drive when conditions are poor.
- Limit how much you drive at night.
- Don’t drive when you are stressed or tired.
While you are driving:
- Always wear your seat belt and make sure your passengers wear their seat belts, too.
- Wear your glasses and/or hearing aid, if you use them.
- Stay off your cell phone.
- Avoid distractions such as eating, listening to the radio, or chatting.
- Use your window defrosters to keep both the front and back windows clear.
Villas of Holly Brook offers free scheduled transportation to doctor’s appointments and other transportation needs which is included in the base rate. Check out the Villas of Holly Brook and Reflections Memory Care website at www.villasofhollybrook.com. We have two communities in Bloomington. Call the Executive Director at one of these communities for a personal tour.
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