Five More Chronic Diseases Pose Hazards for Drivers

This month’s Harvard Health letter talks about the challenges posed by several chronic diseases and the inherent dangers from driving an automobile. For your own safety, and the safety of your passengers and other drivers, think through what might be made more difficult by your health condition and make your own accommodations. That way you will increase the safety of all concerned, and hopefully prevent an accident.

1. If you have had a decline in thinking skills it can lessen your ability to deal with the many real time judgments needed to drive safely. Aside from getting lost, making a misjudgment as to distance and speed can lead to an accident. If you have a cognitive decline, you may need to consider driving early in the morning when there are fewer cars, taking round about routes to stay away from the faster busier streets, or even, “giving up the keys”.

2. Prescription medication. Many of the medications you take can decrease your ability to drive safety due to dizziness or drowsiness.

3. Alcohol. As you get older your ability to metabolize alchohol will decrease. What you used to be able to do, may now be dangerous.

4. Stroke or heart attack. If one of these occurs while driving, pull over and stop the car, and call for help.

5. Depression, anger or other instance of emotional distress. While grieving, or when you are under extreme stress, your driving may suffer from the fact that you are unable to give driving your full attention. 

Know a friend who has had a decline in thinking skills, and may be cognitively impaired? You may need to suggest strategies from this post for making accommodations to insure safe driving. Share this article with him on Facebook so he can get some good ideas to make his driving safer for himself and others.

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