At what age should you stop driving?
Age gets to us all eventually. Reaction times increase, eye sight decreases and your hearing becomes impaired so each of us come to an age when we can’t do the things we used to do. Driving can be dangerous, particularly at night or when the conditions lower visibility so at what age should you stop driving?
Conditions like cataracts, macular degeneration, or glaucoma can affect your ability to drive at any age. You optician should be consulted if you realise your sight is worsening. As you get older your eyes need more light to see so driving at night can become a problem. You may also find that your peripheral vision narrows too.
There are loads of different health conditions that affect your ability to drive safely, not all of them are age related but the following do tend to come on when old age approaches. Stuff like arthritis, diabetes and Parkinson’s disease can affect our ability to drive. While depression isn’t a problem that’s only associated with the old, it’s an issue that can lead to distraction while driving. Other stuff like an irregular heart beat or a lack of sleep can be harder to cope with when you’re older and can contribute to poor driving.
Aside from making sure you’re in the best condition possible when you drive, you should also take time to prepare your car. Making sure that the car’s tyres are operating at the right pressure and that the car’s headlights are shining in the optimum angle will help your driving. A smaller car or one with an automatic gearbox and extras like reversing sensors will take some of the chore out of your driving.
Being aware of the side effects of all the medicines you are on is another way of keeping safe. Reading the leaflet that comes with prescription and over the counter medicines before you drive is a sensible thing for all of us to do but for the elderly it could be more important as drowsiness combined with decreasing abilities behind the wheel could be fatal.
The fact is that there’s no age at which you should stop driving. You will know when the time comes.