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Buckle up! Factors that Affect Senior Drivers

By Meghana Giridhar, December 1

Older driver safety awareness week is being celebrated from Dec 1st – Dec 5th, 2015. Being able to drive is a sign of independence. However, the task of being alert to traffic signs and other drivers as well as judging distances and speeds can be taxing on seniors. Many are unaware that driving skills get affected due to age-related changes in the body. The risk of accidents among senior drivers is known to increase after the age of 75. For recent statistics on the rate of injuries from crashes among older drivers, see Traffic Safety Facts 2012: Older Population. (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration). Some common mistakes as per the National Institute of Health include: •    Getting confused while trying to change lanes •    Not noticing a stop sign •    Driving too slowly or too fast •    Not letting other drivers pass when it’s their right of way The National Institute of Health has highlighted some factors that could play a significant role in how driving changes with age. Sight: Vision changes among seniors include: •    Heightened sensitivity to glares •    Decline in the ability to see to the side while looking ahead •    Eye diseases such as macular degeneration, cataracts, glaucoma Sound: Hearing loss can affect the ability to be aware of horns and noises from the car that could be warning signs of impending danger. Physical: Weak muscles and stiff joints are common issues among seniors. This can lead to problems such as being unable to turn to look back, turn the steering wheel quickly or brake in time. Information processing also gets slower and seniors might find it tough to accomplish simultaneous tasks while driving. Health Conditions: Conditions that affect the arms, legs, neck or back can seriously impair a senior’s ability to function correctly while driving. Health situations that most affect seniors are diabetes, arthritis, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s or strokes, among others. Click here to read more about how each of these conditions are serious factors in unsafe driving. Medications: Seniors with health conditions often have to take medicines. Often, these can make them feel tired or dizzy which could be harmful when they are driving. Adjusting to life without driving can be tough for seniors but help is available via national resources. 2 of the most important ones include: AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety 1-202-638-5944 AARP 1-888-687-2277 (toll-free) 1-877-342-2277 (español/línea gratis) 1-877-434-7598 (TTY/toll-free) Meghana Giridhar serves as Content Manager and is part of eCareDiary's founding team. In her role, she oversees and edits content across all of eCareDiary's media platforms.

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Radio Show

Radio Show

Senior Driver Safety Tips

December 8

eCareDiary will speak to Elin Schold-Davis, Project Coordinator, Older Driver Initiative at The American Occupational Therapy Association about how aging affects driving and tips to keep senior drivers safe.

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