Senior citizens are a head strong, hardy group of people and demand their independence. They want the freedom, deservedly, to do whatever and whenever they want, without having to hear anyone telling them not to. However, there comes a time that driving should be abandoned and left to those that can. They must understand that provisions have been made to provide for seniors that cannot do certain things. It is not lazy, shameful, sacrilegious, or outright giving up freedoms to accept help from anyone at any time.
Driving is a dangerous endeavor that many seniors partake in and most seniors are considered to be the best drivers on the road. However, seniors must realize their skills and ability can and will deteriorate which make the roadway unsafe for them and others. Those seniors that are hardheaded, stubborn and/or set in their ways have more danger surrounding them than many others. They will not and do not care about or realize the danger signs and continue doing it their way. Here are some warning signs, although not all inclusive, that should tell seniors it is time to give up driving.
- 1. TRAFFIC CITATIONS: The accruing of traffic citations should be, at the very least, a sign saying it is time to stop driving.
- 2. ACCIDENTS: This is a big sign that mean the next time could be the one that does greater damage or cause a death. This is one sign that should not be taken lightly.
- 3. STIFF NECK: When the neck cannot be turned, obstructions, coming traffic and other dangers cannot be seen. Younger people as well as seniors should be very careful of this condition.
- 4. LEG PAIN: This condition simply slows crucial reaction time that is needed to respond to an emergency whereby the foot must be lifted from one pedal to another in a hurry. When there is pain, a person hesitates and causes a dangerous situation for everyone around.
- 5. ARM STRENGTH: This is one situation that also causes a hesitation which could get a lot of seniors in trouble. People think power steering takes very little strength to turn the wheel and they are right. Think about the situation of whipping the steering wheel one way and quickly into the other direction. That takes dexterity and a little strength. If there is shoulder, arm or elbow pain, quickly whipping the steering wheel would be a problem therefore a danger.
- 6. SLOW REACTION TIME: A person must have sharp reflexes to cope with today’s traffic situations and volumes of traffic. Not only seeing the turning vehicle or the vehicle coming out of a side road but a child darting out into the street or the deer. Young people have trouble reacting and senior citizens should beware.
- 7. MEMORY: Seniors must be able to know where they are at all times as well as where they are going. Daily, there are alerts for a senior that have wandered away or don’t know where home is. These people should not be driving but some drive daily.
- 8. HEALTH: This is a touchy situation for many seniors. To them, they are fit, only a little ill but not much to worry about. On the road, many drivers have medical emergencies and drive off the road, into other vehicles or, tragically, into buildings or crowds of people. The medical condition could be anything including a prior stroke, seizure, fainting, and heart attack.
- 9. MEDICATIONS: A person may not want to believe it but medications have an effect on everyone, senior or young. This can cause fainting, seizures, and a number of other ailments that is listed in health problems. Medications can be very dangerous especially if not enough is taken, too much is taken or a bad reaction to an old or new medication. Caution is the ultimate word and close consultation with a doctor is strongly advised.
- 10. HEARING: Not being able to hear or hard of hearing must be helped out with other faculties. Being able to see clearly is a great help and could save an accident or life. Not being able to see is another problem in itself and, coupled with a hearing problem, is catastrophic.
- Help can be found in many places including on the internet and self-tests are a great aid for all seniors and should be taken advantage of. Among others, this is a good one: www.helpguide.org/elder/senior_citizen_driving.htm or online driving ability tests: seniordriving.aaa.com/evaluate-your-driving-ability. To have a safer roadway and to live longer, adherence to the driving warning signs is a must. Pay attention to them.