People with memory disorders are at a greater risk of unsafe driving compared to those of the same age without memory concerns.
Changes in vision, hearing, mobility, and reflexes along with taking some medications increase the risk of accidents.
Frequent evaluation of risk with driving is essential.
Early intervention can help prevent a catastrophe.
Most people reach a point in life when driving is no longer safe.
It is a civic duty to protect the health and welfare of the driver, other drivers, passengers, pedestrians, and property.
INDICATORS OF RISK
Getting lost while driving
Passengers are fearful of riding with the driver
Not staying in the lane
Confusing brake and gas pedals
Failing to observe traffic signs and signals
Hitting a curb when driving
Driving too slowly or speeding
Becoming angry or confused when driving
QUESTIONS TO ASK ONESELF ABOUT DRIVING SAFETY
Has my confidence surrounding driving decreased?
Have I had any fender benders, car scrapes, or accidents?
Have I had any traffic citations?
Have I gotten lost or disoriented as to where I am when driving?
Have I forgotten where I am going?
Has my mental processing speed slowed?
Has my vision or visual perception changes?
Have my movements slowed?
QUESTIONS OTHERS CAN ASK ABOUT SOMEONE’S DRIVING SAFETY
Do you have concerns about riding with the driver?
Would you let children ride with the person?
Do they need a “co-pilot” to assist with driving?
Do they have increased anger or anxiety when driving?
Are traffic rules obeyed?
Is there difficulty seeing other vehicles, objects, or pedestrians?
Can the car be parked correctly?
Have other instrumental activities of daily living declined such as paying bills or preparing meals?
Are mood swings, difficulty problem solving, or impaired decision- making present?
Many people are fit to drive provided early safety strategies are put in place.
Drive in familiar areas only within a small radius of the home. If a GPS is required, then it is not a familiar area.
Drive only during the daytime in good weather conditions.
As much as possible make right turns only. If left turns are needed always make them at a traffic light.
Do not accelerate into a line of stopped cars to avoid abrupt stopping.
Keep to the speed limit and do not exceed it.
Avoid distractions such as pets, phones, and car’s sound system.
Evaluate the current vehicle and consider replacing with a model that has advanced safety features such as lane assist and blind spot indicators.
STRATEGIES USED AS CONCERNS PROGRESS
Using these strategies can help transition someone from driving to no longer doing so.
Some individuals are relieved they no longer have the stress of driving.
Loss of driving is associated with feelings of loss of independence, loss of socialization, and low self-esteem. Discuss strategies to maintain independence around driving such as helping to make other arrangements. Create new ways to promote socialization.
No longer driving may result in a grief response – anger, denial, bargaining, and depression. Allow the person to express feelings and move to resolution of the grief – acceptance.
Offer to drive, allowing the person to relax and enjoy the scenery or avoid the stress of driving in traffic.
Schedule family or friends to visit either at home or by taking the person somewhere for a meal or an outing.
Use transport services or hire a driver.
Use home delivery services and on-line shopping.
Use more in-home services.
Watch the website video “The Driving Conversation” for more information.
If driving fitness is questioned and the driver will not voluntarily stop, a formal driving evaluation can be ordered by the provider.
Depending on the outcome, driving privileges may be suspended.
Read the document on the website “Driving Evaluation” for more information.
STRATEGIES USED WHEN DRIVING MUST IMMEDIATELY BE STOPPED
If driving is dangerous and must be immediately stopped, critical steps must be undertaken.
Disable the vehicle by removing the battery.
Remove the car keys with non-working keys or remotes with the battery removed.