Decision Making: Older drivers
may process information and react more slowly
than younger people. As a result, older
drivers may drive more slowly to compensate.
Attention: As they age, drivers
may feel overwhelmed by too much activity
on the road, especially on busy highways
or congested intersections. They may also
have trouble remaining attentive and are
Perception: Older adults have more
crashes at intersections than younger drivers.
The collisions are the result of failure
to yield the right of way, misunderstanding
signs and signals and inaccurately judging
Now, Plan for Later
The key to getting around safe and sound
now and in the future is to understand and
evaluate the role driving plays in an older
person's life. Yet few older adults discuss
and plan how to meet transportation needs
as life conditions change. Some guidelines:
an individual approach
Some people can continue to drive well
into their later years; others can't. Consider
each situation and address specific needs
and wants as you address driving and transportation
issues. Remember that driving is not just
about getting to the doctor or buying groceries.
For most people, driving is a key to staying
connected to their lives in the community.
openly and respectfully
Most older drivers think of themselves
as safe drivers. Adult children and other
friends or caregivers should be positive
and supportive while explaining their concerns.
Base your concerns of several observations
of the person's driving at different times
of day and under different driving conditions.
Listen to the honest concerns of the older
driver as well. Together, talk about ways
to adapt driving habits and plan for future
The earlier you discuss the inevitable
consequences of aging, the better you can
make provisions for the future. At the same
time you are planning with someone else,
it is also a good time to talk with your
spouse, partner and/or children to begin
planning for yourself. Include discussions
about transportation needs as your family
plans for retirement - just as you would
address finances, medical care and housing.
It's helpful to gain an objective assessment
of driving abilities rather than relying
on personal assumptions or misperceptions.
Older adults can get feedback on their driving
skills from a Driver Rehabilitation Specialist.
Find a specialist at