Older drivers (age 65 and up) have become increasingly involved in Missouri’s fatal and serious injury crashes. This is primarily a result of a growing population within this age group as the number of older drivers in the state has increased by about 25,000 licensed drivers each year. In addition, older drivers are typically more at risk for physical and cognitive impairments that limit their ability to drive. The resources below can help educate individuals and families on how to ensure everyone is fit to drive.
If your loved ones are no longer able to drive safely, you can guide them toward transportation options that meet their mobility needs.
Answering the following questions may help you decide if you need to initiate a conversation with an older driver about driving safely:
- Are they getting lost on routes that should be familiar?
- Have you noticed new dents or scratches to the vehicle?
- Have they received a ticket for a driving violation?
- Have they experienced a near-miss or crash recently?
- Have they been advised to limit/stop driving due to a health reason?
- Are they overwhelmed by road signs and markings while driving?
- Are they taking any medication that might affect driving safely?
- Have you noticed them speeding or driving too slowly for no reason?
- Are they suffering from any illnesses that may affect driving skills?
If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, be prepared to take steps appropriate to the situation, which might include talking with your loved one about safe driving and/or ceasing driving.
TIPS FOR AGING ROAD USERS
Decisions about your ability to drive should never be based on age alone. However, changes in vision, physical fitness and reflexes may cause safety concerns. By accurately assessing age-related changes, you can adjust your driving habits to remain safe on the road or choose other kinds of transportation.
- If you’ve noticed changes in your vision, physical fitness, attention, and ability to quickly react to sudden changes, it’s important to understand how these changes may be affecting your ability to drive safely. Driving Safely While Aging Gracefully is a resource developed by the USAA Educational Foundation, AARP and NHTSA to help you recognize warning signs and pick up useful tips on what you can do to remain a safe driver. (NHTSA)
- One way to stay safe while driving is by making sure you understand how medical conditions can impact your ability to drive safely. Another way is by adapting your motor vehicle to make sure it fits you properly, as well as choosing appropriate features, installing and knowing how to use adaptive devices, and practicing good vehicle maintenance. (NHTSA)
Older Drivers With Medical Conditions
- If you are an older driver with a medical condition, or if you are a concerned caregiver, NHTSA offers several resources for safer driving.
- These resources will help you learn how medical conditions can affect driving, what to do if you're experiencing or witnessing certain warning signs, and where to learn more about certain medical conditions. These resources also provide information about transportation alternatives and how to get help with transportation.
- Information on Driving with Medical Conditions (NHTSA)