It is often the complaints of several drivers that young people of today have no road etiquette. However, little does everyone know that elderly drivers are as dangerous as their younger counterparts. This is because according to experts such as geriatrician, David Lussier, that elderly drivers also have tendencies to speed and take risks behind the wheel. Sometimes, these can be dangerous for their health.
According to Lussier, research suggests that the reason why elderly drivers pose the same risk as their younger reckless driver counterparts is due to their deteriorating mental health and physical abilities. One skill often looked in driving is the ability for drivers to divide their attention on several things at once. This would include shifting gears if one drives a clutch car or watching out for road hazards and lights while driving. This ability is found out to decrease once one hits the ages 50 to 60 years old.
Another reason stated by research is their multiple medications which often leads to several adverse drug reactions such as drowsiness or personality changes just to name some. For example, if one is prescribed with sedatives and tranquilizers such as benzodiazepenes to aid in their sleep, stress and/or anxiety disorders, this is often seen as a hazard for drivers. Another drug that is commonly prescribed for the elderly that pose as driving hazards are drugs for blood pressure, opoid painkillers like morphile and tramadol, and antidepressants.
A third reason added by Dr. Lussier on why elderly people can be hazardous on the road is due to delayed decision making while driving. This can be done even by the simple mistake of mixing up one’s accelerator and brakes.
How can caregivers be able to protect their elderly from their driving? They can help by talking to them about the situation and if they should continue on or surrender their license most especially if any of the reasons above are a factor. However don’t dive into the topic so fast. One way is to discuss about how is their driving and if there has been any problems with it like problems with concentration or keeping awake, this way it will help pave the way for decision making discussion for them. Allow them the freedom to reach a decision on their own. If they are finding a hard time reaching a decision, it is also advisable to present them the different sides of the coin if they were to stop or to continue on driving with those factors. Carefully discuss things with them and don’t forget to be patient if ever the conversation isn’t as favorable especially if your elderly loved one is stubborn.
However, if they are insistent on continuing on driving, have their renew their licenses in person. Now only this will help them in their thirst for freedom and in decision making, it may also help them face the music and reconsider things especially on their capability to drive a car.