The aging body presents many hazards when driving a motor vehicle. As a personal gets older, their reaction time slows, quick decisions are harder to make, and distractions are easier to succumb to. Cataracts blur vision, glaucoma affects peripheral vision, and macular degeneration (see also AMD) makes the center of objects such as stop signs and speed limit postings harder to see. Arthritis can affect the ability to grip a steering wheel, and stiff joints can make it difficult for an elderly driver to look over their shoulder or move from the gas pedal to the brake pedal, slowing reaction times considerably.
To keep elderly drivers in your family safe, watch out for signs that they are unfit to drive. Deteriorating vision and difficulty walking or getting in and out of a vehicle are signs to look out for. Signs of Alzheimer’s disease, low blood sugar due to diabetes, Parkinson’s disease or stroke are also important issues that need to be brought to the attention of family members, caretakers, and doctors before letting an elderly person get behind the wheel.