Aging often comes with physical and mental changes. These changes can affect your day-to-day activities, including housekeeping, cooking, shopping, and more. One of the more noticeable activities that aging can influence is driving. If you’re someone who drives regularly, it’s important to stay self-aware of your driving habits, so you can keep yourself and others safe on the road. Here are five signs that it’s time to hang up your driving gloves.
- Lost Sense of Direction
If you find yourself losing your whereabouts while you drive, it may indicate that driving has become or is becoming a hazard. Losing your sense of direction can be the result of certain health conditions including Alzheimer’s disease and other dementia disorders that can come with age.
For example, driving through a familiar area, such as your hometown, should be easy for you to navigate. However, if you frequently get lost while driving around a familiar area, this may be cause for concern. Having to call friends and family to help you find your way can also signify that you shouldn’t travel on your own anymore.
- Vision and Hearing Troubles
A decline in your vision and hearing capabilities can also be a sign it’s time to transition out of driving. Losing the ability to see accurately can be dangerous for you and others on the road. One way to see if your vision is still safe is to refer to your state’s vision requirements for driving. These requirements usually revolve around visual acuity measurements. However, these requirements can change from state to state, so you’ll want to find out what your specific state enforces.
You may also experience hearing loss as you age. If you begin to experience hearing loss, you may want to think about how it could be affecting your driving. For example, maybe you can’t hear someone honking at you, or you’re unable to hear police and ambulance sirens. If this is your case, you may want to reconsider getting behind the wheel.
- More Accidents
Another sign it’s time to stop driving is if you’ve been in an increasing number of car accidents. This can, of course, include more severe accidents, but even minor fender benders can be cause for concern. Hitting curbs more often and swiping other cars as you park are common incidents.
More severe signs can be swerving out of your lane, driving too slow, or driving too fast. If you’re making these mistakes on the road, you’ll most likely be honked at more frequently, which can also be an indication there’s an issue.
- Disregard for Traffic Signs and Signals
Disobeying traffic signs and signals can be quite dangerous for you and others on the road. If you find yourself stopping at green lights or driving through red lights, you may need to reevaluate.
Another example can be not understanding traffic signals. This can include not recognizing turn arrows, yield symbols, and other signs. Knowing and acting on traffic signals like these are essential when it comes to driving safely. If you feel you can no longer adhere to these signals, you cannot drive safely.
- Physical Limitations
You may find that your body begins to lose some of its physical capabilities as you age. For example, your range of motion and mobility may be limited. If this is the case, you might not be able to react as quickly and accurately as you should when driving. Can you brake the car fast enough if need be? Will you be able to make that sharp turn? Ask yourself questions like these to help you decide if you can keep driving safely.
Deciding that it’s no longer safe for you to drive can be a hard concept to consider. Many of us rely on driving to provide a sense of independence and control, so letting go can be difficult. However, you must be transparent with yourself and consider the safety risks you may pose by staying on the road.