Aging and mobility
The elderly have more probabilities of dying of traffic accidents and, including pedestrians, traffic accidents of the elderly are the second most frequent cause of admissions to emergency rooms.
The study of traffic complaints indicates that elderly drivers usually do not respect signals, nor give the way, and turn without prior notice. However, they usually do not drive at excessive speed, have no car defects or serious infringements of the traffic code.
Imprudences, though made unconsciously, provoke a high risk as the elderly hardly assume the situation and they usually think that their “experience” can replace any defect of age.
Furthermore, it should be taken into account that the loss of ability and agility in senses is usually gradual, so the affected subject gets used to hiss new limitations, and may not be aware of them.
Healthcare is important for elderly people in all aspects of life, but with regard to driving it can be vital.
Advice for the elderly driver
- The elderly should approach with caution crossroads, and get used to looking twice at both sides of the road before continuing and maximizing caution when turning.
- Turning in crossroads can result in fatal accidents, particularly if needing to cross lanes where other cars run. It is known that crashes are the most frequent in a roadcross with an elderly driver, if this should turn to the left.
- It would be advisable to advise him that he does three turns to the right in order not to have to do one to the left, if possible. With some planning, dangerous roadcrosses can be avoided.
- We should advise him to drive in known areas, to avoid rush hours, complicated trajects, adverse weather conditions, and night traveling.
- Another useful advice is to recommend him to ask a family member or trustful friend to accompany him to see how he drives and the list carefully to his observations.
- A valuable option is to take a course on safe driving for elderly people. If in addition, our patient has been about to suffer an accident on a couple of times, this maybe means that he has lost his faculties.
- There is a moment when they should told, no matter how painful it is, that he should stop driving for his safety and that of others. While he can be recommended to travel accompanied more frequently, and that he alternates driving with his companion.
- Many recognize that when the younger companion drives, they are relaxed and stop suffering with an activity that begins to be difficult and uncomfortable for them. In this way, the travel is usually safer and more pleasant.
- If there is public transportation, in many cases it is a practical alternative that should be recommended.
- In turn, the elderly have an added danger that is the greater consumption of drugs, with side effects affecting more elderly people and limiting them for driving, of which they should be warned.
- Relatives and physicians of elderly people are recommended to talk with them, and that they give them their viewpoint on the risks of driving when their ability to drive decreases.
- Hence, in addition to receiving care, he should, at the established times, to undergo the psychophysical examinations for renewal of the driving license, not hiding any information to the physician.
- Certainly it is important to continue driving, but it is mucho more important to continue living.