When Is Too Old To Drive?

1412 words - 6 pages

When is it Too Old to Drive?Have you ever been driving down the road and had to swerve out of the way or suddenly had to slam on the brakes due to a clueless driver? Most drivers have had a close call with another car, a person walking, or an object while driving. But when does one know when these situations are cause for concern? Although senior citizens are safe drivers, recent statistics concur that older drivers are far more likely to get into multiple-vehicle accidents than any other age group, except teenagers (Safe Senior Citizen Driving para1).Today, Americans are living longer due to healthier lifestyle, increased exercise, greater awareness of nutrition, and medical intervention ...view middle of the document...

No matter how healthy one may be, aging can easily slow down physical, neurological mobility, and judgement. An older driver's ability may be impaired due to slowing reflexes, dimming eyesight, and fading hearing. Diseases can also be a significant cause of imparing ones driving ability. Diseases such as Alzeheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease, heart disease, sleep apnea, alchoholism, diabetes, stroke, and arthritis can impair the ability to drive (Woolston para3). Add the mix of multiple prescriptions, as is the case with many senior citizen drivers, and you have a prescription for disaster in far too many cases. Some foods and alcoholic beverages may impact responses to medications in ways never mentioned or anticipated when prescriptions are taken. Older people are more likely to be involved in accidents if they take tricyclic antidepressants, some antihistameines, glaucoma medications, aspirin, and ibuprofen, and muscle relaxants.The most important saftey measurement one can take is getting their eyesight checked regularly. According to Abell, ninety percent of driving is vision-related skill, so visual changes- cataracts, glaucoma, loss of peripheral vision- are particularly important to address (Abell 34). Dr. Owsley states, "the good news is that a lot of vision problems are treatable." For example, Cataracts affect 50 to 60 percent of elderly adults and can easily be fixed with outpatient surgery (Abell 34).According to NHTSA, older drivers don't typically speed, tailgate, drive drunk, and they tend to wear their seat belts more than drivers in other age groups. However, with aging, the decreased amount of strength and flexibility can impair anyones driving. Muscles become weaker and diminished limb mobility can slow down reaction times and make it tremendously hard for one to check blind spots. When the traffic is more congested, they are often confused, and may misunderstand signs. The most common mistakes that older drivers make, are failure to yield the right of way, making too-wide left turns, and colliding with cars when backing up (Who's too old to drive para 13). Elderly drivers are more likely to get traffic citations for failing to yield, turning improperly, and running stop signs and red lights.Car accidents are more dangerous for seniors than for younger people. A person 65 or older who is involved in a car accident is more likely to be seriously hurt, more likely to require hospitalization, and more likely to die than younger people involved in the same crash. In particular, fatal crash rates rise sharply after a driver has reached the age of 70. Older drivers are more likely to die in a crash, partly because they are more fragile and tend to have less range of motion.If you may be worried that a family member or an older person you may know is no longer safe behind the wheel you can take them to a family physician and help assess a person's driving ability by testing vision, reflexes, strength, attention, and other...

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