One in six drivers in the United States are 65 years or older, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
As we age, declines in vision and cognition (ability to reason and remember), and physical changes might affect driving. Certain medical problems such as heart disease, dementia, sleep disorders, and limited hearing and vision place older adults at an increased risk of car crashes. Additionally, medicines, both prescription and over the counter, might affect driving safety. Older drivers are also at an increased risk of being injured or killed in a crash due to increasing frailty and underlying health problems.
In recognition of Older Driver Safety Awareness Month, Hazel Wiley, D.O., neurologist and medical director of the Memory Disorder Center at Broward Health North, shares some tips that older adults can take to stay safe on the road:
• Discuss any medical issues with your doctor to determine if they might affect your driving.
• Discuss stopping or changing your medications with your pharmacist or doctor if you experience any side effects that could interfere with safe driving such as blurry vision, dizziness, sleepiness, confusion, fatigue, and/or loss of consciousness.
• Have your eyes checked by an eye doctor at least once a year. Wear glasses and corrective lenses as directed.
• Plan your route before you drive.
• Consider potential alternatives to driving, such as riding with a friend, using public transit, or car-ride services.
Broward Health North offers a comprehensive driver evaluation, an unbiased and objective assessment that fairly and accurately determines if a loved one can safely operate a vehicle. If you would like to learn more about how a medical condition or medication may impact your loved one’s driving abilities, call for a safe driving assessment at the Broward Health North Memory Disorder Center. At the completion of the assessment, a comprehensive report will be provided to the patient and referring physician.
To schedule a Safe Driver Assessment, call the Memory Disorder Center at 954-786-7392. No referrals needed.