Getting told when you should or should not drive can release a lot of emotions. When you drive for most of your life, it is not easy to rely on others for transportation. The feeling of freedom may slip away. You may not notice certain tendencies that others see, which is why it can be a touchy subject to talk about.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 45 million drivers were aged 65 and older in 2018. During the same year, more than 250,000 crash injuries were treated in emergency departments on those 65 and older.
You may be wondering how to tell if you are too old to drive. There can be several warning signs to look for.
Driving is stressful and confusing
Driving can pose many challenges, especially when there is construction and heavy traffic. Traffic can make it difficult to merge over as you drive, which can be overwhelming. Once you are overwhelmed, you risk the possibility of mixing up the gas and brake pedals while you are in the flow of traffic.
Traffic signs and lights may also cause confusion when you drive. You may find yourself stopping or slowing down even when it is not necessary. If you experience this kind of stress and confusion while driving, you may want to think about having others drive you to your destinations.
Difficulty with vision
Straining to see can be a warning sign you are too old to be driving. Clear vision is a crucial part of driving. For you and others to feel safe on the road, you need to see your surroundings. If you have vision problems due to glaucoma or macular degeneration, you may be putting yourself in an unsafe situation when you get behind the wheel.
You also want to make sure you fit correctly in the seat. Sitting up high is important so you can see over the steering wheel and check your blind spots consistently. When you can’t see your blind spots, you are at a higher risk of merging into the next lane when you shouldn’t.
Experiencing close calls
Close calls can involve other vehicles, inanimate objects, and pedestrians. You may be driving in a parking lot and hit a curb or almost hit someone walking with their cart. If you experience close calls like these or minor fender benders frequently, it may be time not to drive yourself around.
It can be a scary feeling to get lost while driving. It only takes one wrong turn to change your surroundings completely. Cities and towns are constantly changing infrastructure, so it can be easy not to recognize where you are.
According to the Alzheimer’s Association, there are 6.2 million people aged 65 and older living with Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. Seniors have a greater chance of developing these illnesses, ultimately putting them at greater risk when driving. You may want to consider not driving any longer if you quickly forget where you are going or get lost.
Not following the speed limit
Another warning sign that you may be too old to drive is when you no longer drive the speed limit. You may not realize how fast or slow you are going as you transition from residential roads to highways.
Driving too slowly can cause accidents on the streets. Next time you are driving and see people pass you repeatedly, you may want to check to see if you are going the speed limit. If you notice this every time you are in the car, it may be time to no longer be on the road.
Realizing when you should no longer drive can include many mixed feelings. You don’t want to lose your freedom to drive where you want when you want, but once it becomes unsafe for you and others, then it may be time. It is not an easy conversation to have and admit, but having a support system can be beneficial as you make this change.