Losing the ability to drive can mean a loss of freedom and feelings of depression. But sometimes the time comes when one must put away the car keys and find new means of transportation. But don’t rush to stop driving. Your skills may be as sharp as ever, but watch for signs of declining ability. Here are several ways older drivers can assess their driving skills.
Are Signs and Other Things Harder To See?
We all, on occasion, need to strain our eyes to make out what a sign says or to mind other cars and other hazards at night. However, if this is an ongoing issue even during the day, it might be time to have your eyes checked (or rechecked, as the case may be). Eye diseases like glaucoma and macular degeneration are common in one’s later years, and it’s worth checking to see if you’re experiencing either. It might well be that you just need a stronger prescription. Still, if it’s getting harder to watch the road, read signs, and otherwise keep on top of your blind spots, consider whether you need to stop driving.
Is Your Car Covered With Scrapes, Dings, and Similar Marks?
When you drive, is it harder to enter or exit the garage without bumping into things or slightly grazing the doorframe, fences, shrubs, or other things that run along the sides of your driveway? If your car is exhibiting a lot of minor body damage and you can’t recall how it got there, it may be a signal to stop driving. Naturally, frequent near-misses and minor fender-benders are big warning signs as well. Take the hint to stop driving if it’s becoming too eventful lately.
Loved Ones Note That You’re Forgetting the Rules of the Road
It’s always a good idea to review the principles of safe driving, as there are numerous online driving courses and assessments that can help you relearn what you may have forgotten (some can, upon completion, even get you a discount on your insurance). But if friends and family note that you’ve been doing things like running through red lights, failing to stop for stop signs, and driving erratically in general, take their observations the right way. Consider taking a live driving test to check your skills. It may well be that you just need a refresher!
Is Driving Less and Less of a Pleasure?
One of the best ways older drivers can assess their driving skills is to simply decide whether it’s enjoyable to drive anymore. If you feel exhausted or scared after a short trip, have problems finding your way around your hometown, or simply get confused about the proper operation of your vehicle, talk to your family and doctor. It may be an easily addressed issue like new medication, a lack of sleep, or something similar, but if it’s a bigger issue, it’s better to catch it now.