Contributed by Team Member Carole Clausen, CPT, CES, Personal Trainer
You may have been an excellent driver ever since you got your license and have great pride in your safety record on the road. But it’s important to understand that as we age, it’s normal for our driving abilities to change, or even decline. Even if you aren’t concerned yet, if you should ever experience a fall, injury or need to recover from a surgery, your driving skills may not be as sharp as they’ve always been.
How Does Aging Impact Your Driving Ability?
Getting older affects your driving ability in several ways.
Factors that impact driving include diminished vision, impaired hearing and decreased motor reflexes. Many older adults experience a reduction in strength, coordination and flexibility, which can affect your ability to safely control a vehicle. Other issues that seniors experience can alter your ability to drive safely in these additional ways:
- Neck pain or stiffness – impairs your ability to look left, right or over your shoulder to notice other vehicles and pedestrians in your path.
- Leg pain or cramping – makes it challenging to move your foot between the brake and gas pedals.
- Weaker arm strength – causes difficulty in steering effectively and adjusting your mirrors for better visibility.
- A decreased response time – impacts your ability to effectively respond to signs, traffic lights, road conditions and the movements of other vehicles.
How Can a Driving Rehabilitation Specialist Help Senior Drivers?
If you’re concerned about changes in your ability to drive, a driving rehabilitation specialist can give you a comprehensive driving skills evaluation or clinical driving assessment. They can identify warning signs of unsafe driving, provide tips for reducing your risk of an accident and help you practice safe driving.
We encourage any older adult who wants to sharpen their driving skills – especially after recovering from a debilitating illness, surgery or accident – to consider the driving rehabilitation program at Fellowship Village in New Jersey. Led by an occupational therapist or driving rehabilitation specialist, our program has successfully graduated dozens of senior drivers who did not have to give up their car keys and still enjoy an evening drive after dinner.
For more information about our driving rehabilitation program in Basking Ridge, please contact us here or give us a call today or call 908-580-3827. We look forward to keeping you safe on the road!