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Why might older adults need to consider hanging up their keys?

On Behalf of | Jan 25, 2024 | Personal Injury

With age comes experience. Experience can help to make you a safer driver. As a consequence of experience, you’ve seen how easily crashes can occur, have likely known people injured or killed in crashes and are less likely to take risks while behind the wheel.

If you’re an experienced driver, you’ve also likely built up a wealth of knowledge about the roads you drive. You know where ice is likely to form in winter, where the wind may blow a semi-truck sideways or where drivers might pull out from a parking space without looking.

Yet, even though your experience allows you to benefit from wisdom that other drivers may lack, there may come a point when it is time to hang up your car keys for good.

Weakened hearing and vision

The roar of an approaching motorcycle engine and the urgent toot of a car horn are just two of the myriad of sounds that help inform us about our surroundings when driving. That information is vital to navigating through the traffic safely. Hearing loss means you may not notice some of those signs. Eyesight also weakens with age, reducing the ability to take in visual clues or to see something until you are already close to it. Low light and darkness can be particularly problematic for aging eyes.

Slowed reactions and reflexes

Once you’ve noticed something happening on or around the road, you must react appropriately. Not only can age slow thinking, but once your brain decides on an action, your body may not respond as quickly or forcefully as it once could. For example, you may see a child that seems as if they may step into the road. Yet your leg muscles may not be able to push down on the brake pedal as forcefully as they once could, so your braking distance is greater than it would have been when you were younger. This challenge could endanger you and those around you accordingly.

If you are in doubt about your continued ability to drive, consider getting medical advice. That way, you can better ensure that you’re making informed decisions about operating a vehicle now and moving forward.