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Driving is one of the most popular characteristics of independence. It's a symbol of becoming independent to mature to the legal age and get your driver's license. This is also why it can be difficult to accept that it may be time to now stop driving. After all, you've likely been driving for decades, and it's not easy to give up that freedom and accept a decline in your abilities.
However, in 2019, more than 250,000 older adults (age 65+) were treated in emergency rooms for sustaining injuries after a car crash. Therefore, it's important to look for alternative forms of transportation when you reach a point where driving presents an increased risk.
Here are the top signs that will help you understand when it may be time to hang up the keys and stop driving.
Signs It Is Time to Stop Driving
It's common for vision to worsen with age. Some eyesight problems can be fixed relatively easily with new glasses or surgery. At the same time, some issues may make it impossible to drive safely.
It is recommended to visit a doctor when facing eyesight issues. The physician may suggest you stop driving temporarily and receive treatment. A doctor can also tell you with confidence if you should stop this activity permanently.
What's important to note is that if you have trouble reading signs on the road, your vehicle's dashboard, directions, or seeing potential obstacles, it's important not to put yourself or others in danger until the problem has been addressed.
Do you often get confused while driving? For instance, you may be waiting at a green light, run out of gas, or feel lost or forget how to get home even in familiar areas. These things indicate that your driving ability is compromised.
The primary thing to understand is that getting confused can cause you trouble. For example, you can get lost or cause an accident. Therefore, it is best to find other transportation methods if you face such an issue.
You should note that human body reflexes decline as a person ages. This means your responding ability will be affected. Typically signs of slow reflexes include hitting the brakes late during stoplights causing you to brake harder, or not swerving on time to avoid debris on the road.
As a result of slow reflexes, you may suffer from increasingly frequent "close-calls". If you have faced such incidents recently, it's time to hang your keys and use other forms of transportation.
The most prevalent issue you may experience is easily getting distracted while driving. For instance, you may think about other things and zone out. You can also get distracted by billboards and other cars on the road. If you find that you are nearly getting in accidents because you weren't paying attention, or you weren't paying enough attention to remember how you got somewhere, you should take steps to avoid distracted driving.
Is your vehicle is taking on an increased number of bumps, dents, and scratches lately? Vehicle-on-vehicle accidents are not the only way to determine when to stop driving. You may be damaging your car in other ways too. For instance, your vehicle can get dented by hitting your mailbox or garage door.
A minor bump may not require any worry, but frequently hitting things like the garage door or even the curb signifies that driving may be unsafe. The increase in car dents is an early sign that your driving ability may need to be assessed.
Driving Too Fast or Slow
Maintaining a safe speed is an essential part of driving. If you have trouble driving at the recommended speed, it is likely best not to drive. While driving too fast presents a danger, driving too slowly can also increase the risk of an accident. Therefore, it's important to assess your ability to comfortably maintain a safe speed and keep up with the flow of traffic for your safety and the safety of others.
Getting Tickets Often
Getting tickets frequently is also an indicator that your driving ability is compromised. You may have to pay a fine for going over the speed limit. Besides that, you may also be getting parking tickets more often.
Typically, you may be speeding without realizing that you're above the limit due to a lack of focus. This is why you should take this as a sign and avoid driving.
Getting parking tickets also indicates that you may not remember or understand the rules. Again, you should stop driving after frequent cases to avoid paying hefty fines. The state may also cancel or suspend your license if they see a trend indicating you cannot operate the vehicle safely and within the law.
These are the top signs it's time to stop driving. If you're experiencing any of the issues, you should stop unnecessarily risking your safety. Addressing the problem will also help keep your loved ones and other people safe.
Another thing that can help you decide is a driving assessment at a training center. The test will provide an evaluation of your skills, vision, awareness, and much more. Then, you can use the results to make an informed decision.