Are You Still Safe Behind the Wheel?

As we head into winter, you might be wondering how safe you are behind the wheel of a car. It’s something seniors fear but don’t often discuss. Adult children often worry about the issue, too, as a parent grows older.

Because driving represents freedom to many, just the thought of hanging up the keys for good can be emotional. It can lead to contentious conversations among family members.

That’s why the second week of December is designated as Older Driver Safety Awareness Week. It gives aging advocates an opportunity to shine the spotlight on this topic and share important resources.

Age Is Not the Sole Determinant of Driver Safety

While myths and misinformation about older drivers are widespread, the reality is older drivers cause fewer accidents than younger ones. Age shouldn’t be the deciding factor when you stop driving. Some adults in their eighties are better drivers than those several decades younger.

To stay safe behind the wheel, an older driver might only need to invest in a more senior-friendly vehicle or install adaptive devices. Other times, engaging in the right exercises and stretches is the key. A good resource on the topic is Adaptive Devices Can Ease the Drive, Ride for Seniors.

How to Assess Your Driving Skills

If you are trying to find a way to objectively assess your fitness for driving, we have a few resources you will find useful:

  • This website is rich with articles and tools to support older drivers. This Self-Rating Tool is one. The 15-question assessment allows you to identify your strengths and weaknesses behind the wheel of a car.
  • Assessing Driving Ability: Another place you can find helpful resources is this site created by AARP. It includes a Fitness to Drive Screening quiz, along with an online class you can take to improve your skills.

Should you decide it’s time to give up driving for good, don’t despair. There are a variety of transportation options you can turn to if you don’t want to ask family and friends for a ride. The Lyft ride sharing service, for example, is trying to cater to older adults. Its app even has a setting you can enable to request a vehicle that can accommodate a wheelchair or foldable scooter.

Another helpful resource is your local Agency on Aging office. Most maintain a list of transportation options for seniors in their local community. They range from senior van services to volunteer drivers. While the COVID-19 pandemic has restricted some of these, the agency can likely still point you in the right direction for help.

One final suggestion is to evaluate whether it might be a good time to relocate to a retirement community. These active lifestyle communities have much to offer, including a transportation department. Most have regular established routes, such as stops at area malls, banks, and pharmacies, as well as the ability to accommodate special transportation requests.

Get Help Wherever You Roam

Another option for an older driver to consider is purchasing an emergency alert system. Our Mobile Monitoring Unit allows you to summon help with the push of a button. If you are on your way to the grocery store and fall ill, for example, you can use the device to summon help. Call 1-844-203-5617 to learn more today!