How Age Affects Driving?

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    Apr 15, 2014
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How Age Affects Driving? Photo by Joseph Joffo

The body and the mind go through changes as people age. Driving abilities may differ as individuals get older.  Driving requires stable physical condition and keenness of perception.  Individuals in their senior years may experience physical and mental changes that can affect ability to drive.

It is important for seniors to understand and accept that their bodies are subject to limitations.  There are age-related conditions associated with sense of sight, hearing, and other senses that can affect driving skills. Awareness and acceptance can help seniors become more cautious when driving while ignorance or denial can lead to irresponsible and reckless behavior on the road.

Here are some physical and mental changes that older individuals should mindful of.

• Vision may deteriorate because of aging.  As people age, it may become challenging to keep track of multiple things such as road signs, signals, markings, traffic lights, and pedestrian.  Driving at night may also become more difficult. 

• Vision problems such as cataracts, glaucoma and macular degeneration may cause visual problems such as blurry or hazy vision and reduced sense of sight.  Complications in vision may make it difficult for seniors to see other cars and pedestrians on the road.

• Hearing may also decline.  Poor hearing due to age may make it difficult for seniors to hear things in a noisy environment.  Inability to detect high-pitched sounds that indicate some kind of warning such as ambulance sirens or railroad warnings can put people at risk.

• It is important for drivers to be able to apply defensive driving techniques on the road to avoid dangerous situations.  Seniors may lack alertness and quick response necessary in defensive driving. Seniors may have slower reaction time.    They may also have poorer coordination and flexibility. 

• Muscles weaken because of age.  Older adults may experience slower motor reflexes. Health conditions such as arthritis can make basic maneuvering hard.

• Pain in the neck can hinder seniors from looking over their shoulders when changing lanes or looking at opposite directions to check for other vehicles or pedestrians.

• Pain in the knees, ankles, leg, and feet may make it hard for individuals to move their feet and legs. Difficulty pressing on the gas or brake may cause road accidents. 

• Weakness and pain in the arms and hands can make it difficult to move the steering wheel when making a turn or changing lanes.   

Not all seniors are automatically deprived of driving privileges.  Some older adults may still drive provided that they understand their limitations and learn to take charge of their health. Eating a healthy and balanced diet, engaging in proper exercise and getting enough sleep can promote better health.  Regular check-ups are very important in determining the capability of seniors to drive.  Older individuals should have their vision and hearing checked annually.  Doctors can recommend if individuals are fit to drive or not.  Take note that certain medications can interfere with driving.  For instance, some drugs can cause drowsiness.  Physicians can advise seniors about the effects of their ailments and corresponding medications on their driving abilities.

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This article is written by Joseph Joffo on behalf of, this is having topics on senior drivers, older drivers, should elderly people be allowed to drive and many more. View more information on elderly people driving on the web right now!

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