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Warning signs a senior should stop driving | Column
For most, driving means independence. The ability to get behind the wheel of a vehicle and take yourself from point A to point B exudes liberty, but what happens when you begin to lose your edge and driving modifications need to be made?
The United States expects the number of drivers over the age of 65 to double within the next 15 years, which means accidents for seniors could be on the rise.
Most people do not think about the time when their age prevents them from driving safely. However, age and health do play a significant role in safety behind the wheel. Should the time come, and it will, it is important to be aware of the warning signs that you or your loved one should stop driving and give up the keys. Some of the most prominent warning signs include:
• An increase in “close call” accidents or full-blown crashes. The accidents may involve other vehicles or objects, such as mailboxes, trees, fences and garage doors. If you find dents and scrapes on the vehicle of your beloved senior, it may be time to pose some questions.
• If your loved one frequently gets lost behind the wheel and is late for engagements, appointments or visits because of this issue it may be time to discuss a driving assessment with the Department of Motor Vehicles.
• Frequent experiences of road rage or getting angry behind the wheel may not be the most common sign of an inability to drive, but accompanied with other concerns may lead to a significant warning sign. If your loved one causes other drivers to get angry, honk or complain then you should pay attention to the problem.
• Difficulty performing head checks and having a hard time turning around in the seat before changing lanes can present a significant problem when driving and should be considered a warning sign.
Safety is critical when driving behind the wheel.
• Having trouble reading road signs, being able to tell if the light is green or red, and an inability to assess pavement markings is a prominent warning sign that your senior should stop driving because safety has become an issue.
• If your senior constantly becomes distracted while behind the wheel and has difficulty concentrating while driving it may be time to take a driving examination to see if there is a problem.
• Misjudgment in gaps of traffic at intersections and highway entrances and exits may mean that there is a problem with driving.
This issue may lead to compromised safety and security of the driver and others on the road.
If you know someone who shouldn’t be driving, you can visit the page Report Unsafe Driver and complete a driver evaluation request.
Any physician or concerned citizen can complete this form.
The Washington DOL website states under state law, information the department receives about unsafe drivers isn’t confidential and will be provided to drivers or their attorneys upon written request.
However, don’t let that stop you from intervening when safety is at risk, according to the website.
Sandra Cook is the marketing director for Aegis Lodge. Contact her at 425-814-2841.