Growing older affects different people in different ways. Some people, like Dame Helen Mirren, seem to grow more graceful and beautiful as they get older, while other people may find that they experience painful side effects of the aging process even as early as in their 50s.
As you get closer to or exceed the average age of retirement, you will likely start noticing some of the impacts that advanced age has on the human body. Although genetics, overall health, diet and pre-existing medical conditions can all impact how you experience the aging process, there are certain issues that people commonly experience, including arthritis or joint pain, reductions in visual/auditory acuity and longer response times.
Honestly assessing yourself for how the impact of aging may affect your driving skills can help you stay safer on the road and avoid liability for car crashes you experience.
Does joint stiffness affect your ability to drive?
People often develop arthritis, repetitive motion injuries and joint pains in the areas of their body that they use the most. It is common for people to experience pain in their shoulders, hands, knees and hips as they age.
Pain in your neck or shoulders could prevent you from turning your head to adequately surveil the area around you while you drive, while pain in your hips or knees may reduce the force with which you depress the brake pedal, potentially impacting your ability to respond appropriately in an emergency.
Do you receive routine testing for vision or hearing loss?
Whether you’ve worn glasses your entire adult life or have only recently found yourself struggling to read small print, issues with eyesight are a common consequence of growing older. To stay safe on the roads, drivers should be proactive about getting tested annually for vision and hearing loss.
Glasses and other tools can help close the gap between your current capabilities and what is safe for drivers. If you experience a sudden shift in your vision or hearing, you should seek earlier testing, in order to be safe on the road.
There is assistive technology to help you stay safe on the road
From hearing aids and glasses that make you more aware of your surroundings to vehicle adaptations that can allow you to accelerate or brake manually instead of with the use of your feet, there is a glut of available technology to make driving accessible to people with medical conditions or disabilities.
Just because you find yourself getting older doesn’t mean you have to surrender your license. However, you should remain aware of how your experience of aging impacts your driving ability. The more proactive you are in offsetting issues that could impact your safety on the road, the less likely you will be to have to worry about liability or causing a crash that could hurt other people or cause property damage for which you would be financially responsible.