Image of Woman driving safely on medication.Driving requires a responsibility to oneself and others on the road to be conducted in a safe manner.

The natural aging process and medications can compromise the safety of older drivers, their passengers and motorists and pedestrians on the road.

Under The Influence Of Medications

Medications can have a number of side effects that can make driving more dangerous, especially when they are paired with multiple drugs taken by many seniors. These medications include those for anxiety, anti-depressants, pain, allergies, and muscle relaxers. These risks include:

  •  Slower reaction times
  • Drowsiness
  • Problems staying focused

Be sure to discuss the medications, supplements and over-the-counter medications you take with your doctor and pharmacist.

If you are in a position where you have no choice but to drive when taking medications, make sure you know how they affect you before getting behind the wheel. Your physician may be able to adjust your dose or switch to another medication with fewer side effects. You can also ask friends for transportation assistance, take public transit or senior services that will help you get around town.

Effects Of Aging

Simply getting older can also make driving riskier for senior motorists. The aging process can have negative effects on our:

  • Hearing and vision: Get your annual checkups to make sure you’re suitable to drive safely.
  • Cognitive abilities: Driving requires attention, visual processing and memory, while our processing speed worsens as we age.
  • Motor skills: Our aging bodies get stiffer and weaker, potentially making it tougher to compress gas and brake pedals and using the steering wheel.

Talk with your doctor about concerns for you or a loved one and have them assess the driver’s ability to safely operate a motor vehicle.