Community Blog

What is the Importance Of Traffic Awareness for Seniors?

By Ketan Shah

Many adult children worry about their aging mom or dad’s safety behind the wheel of a vehicle. During National Traffic Awareness Month, there’s no better time for them to seriously evaluate their aging loved one’s ability to safely drive themselves around.

Aging drivers with diminishing physical or cognitive abilities may be a danger to themselves and run the risk of hurting others on the road as well. National Traffic Awareness Month highlights the importance of driving safety, so it may be time to start the conversation.

Are Seniors Safe Drivers?

Everyone can have a car accident, even elderly adults. Having an accident isn’t an excuse to pull someone’s driving privileges automatically. Many seniors are excellent drivers and do everything right to avoid accidents while driving. According to the law, there isn’t an age when someone must cease driving. Instead, they need to show their ability and that they are capable.

Unfortunately, there comes a time when elderly adults really are dangerous drivers and can be a hazard on the road. Limitations on their physical abilities or mild to moderate cognitive decline can really affect their ability to operate the vehicle and negotiate traffic. Sometimes, the side effects of certain medication can also impair driving abilities. It’s up to the family members, neighbors, friends, home care providers and others to speak up about any poor driving abilities they see.

Signs of Dangerous Driving

National Traffic Awareness Month is an awareness campaign that may provide family caregivers with the tools they need to assess whether or not their aging relative should still be driving. Of course, the elderly adult should have a full medical checkup to ensure that conditions like poor vision, poor hearing, arthritis, muscle tremors and other issues won’t interfere. However, the best way to get an idea of an aging adult’s driving skills is to ride along and observe.

Some of the signs include nervousness, forgetting to signal, cutting off cars, and avoiding certain streets that may be too busy or congested. Other signs include missing stop signs and stoplights, getting honked at by frustrated motorists and minor fender benders. Family caregivers can even look at their loved one’s car for new dents or scrapes that could reveal some close calls.

Many seniors worry about losing their ability to drive so they may hide driving problems from loved ones as a result. While it may be one of the most difficult things to do, family caregivers must follow through. If seniors are worried about loving their independence, a home care provider can take care of all their transportation needs. The home care provider can drive them to events, appointments and to run errands. National Traffic Awareness Month gives family caregivers the time and motivation they need to ensure their aging loved one’s safety on the road.

If you or an aging loved one are considering hiring caregivers in Cupertino, CA, please contact the caring staff at Home Helpers today (408) 259-5930.