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In Blog,Parents,Safety

Senior drivers and safety

Vintage street rod that is bright blue with white flames on the fenders. Automobiles give us freedom, making older adults reluctant to quit driving when their health, vision or motor skills decline.

America has had a long love affair with the open road and its automobiles. Nowhere is that more evident than in Louisville, KY, the first weekend in August, when highways and parking lots are full of vintage cars in town for the Street Rod Nationals.

But automobiles are more than eye candy with horsepower. They are freedom – to go where we like, when we like. Unfortunately, as we get older, our eyesight may fail and our reflexes slow. Older adults are understandably reluctant to give up driving. They don’t want to impose on friends and family for transportation, wait for public transportation or pay for a cab.

How do you know when it’s time quit driving, or when it’s time to ask a loved one to hand over the keys?

AARP lists some key warning signs of unsafe driving, including decreased confidence while driving, hitting curbs when making right turns or backing up and driving too fast or too slow for road conditions. If you are unsure about your driving, or perhaps want to brush up on your skills, a couple of options are available:

AAA Roadwise, an online course, helps seniors adjust to age-related physical changes.

Frazier Rehab also offers a drivers’ education and training program. Call 502.451.6886 to learn about costs and whether you or a loved one is a candidate for the program.

The harder part is asking a loved one who has had too many close calls to give up their keys. The Hartford insurance company and MIT’s AgeLab offers a free online seminar about driver safety, called “We Need to Talk.”

AARP also offers a host of other resources for senior drivers.

Louisville, like many communities, has limited transportation options catering specifically to older adults, but if you need help, our care managers can refer you to resources. Simply call 502.587.8673 and ask to speak with a community care manager or community social worker.