Those Were The Days from 1968

Older woman smiling behind the wheel.

Those Were the Days from 1968 – is likely a one hit wonder but it got me thinking. I remember being “young and sure” and thinking nothing could hurt me. Many of us likely felt this sense of invincibility in our youth and I know that feeling has lingered even as I’ve grown “older and wiser.”  It is that lingering feeling of “I know what I know” and “it won’t happen to me” that can sometimes lead to an outcome that could’ve been avoided in life and on the road. Although we know we can and do change past the age of 50, the changes come slower and with greater effort according to research from the National Institutes of Health. This makes it challenging for those of us caring for and about someone who is older that may be reluctant to address driving concerns.

I know most of us think we are safe behind the wheel. Statistics tell us older drivers may be among the safest while also being among the most vulnerable. It only takes one crash to change a life (and the lives of those around us). As we get older, our increased fragility and frailty means that if we are in a crash the likelihood of being hurt is greater than younger drivers. It also means that when injured in a crash the recovery takes longer or may have a lasting impact on us. I know none of us want to invite a long recovery or lasting injury into our lives. Last month I talked about aging and medical conditions and their impact on older driver safety. But how can we figure out what to do to drive longer and improve safety while on the road?

Screenings and assessments are a great place to start. An assessment can be a simple online quiz to see if you might want to consider changing your driving habits. Results from the quiz could also indicate that a more comprehensive assessment by a professional (a driving rehabilitation specialist) could help you make changes in driving habits or modifications to your car to help you improve your safety behind the wheel. If we take the time to make the changes now, we can keep ourselves and those we share the road with safer. And maybe keep driving for longer.

One of the final lines in Those Were the Days is: “We’re older but no wiser for in our hearts the dreams remain the same”. I get it, we all think of ourselves as we were – I still get surprised sometimes when I look in a mirror and wonder who is that woman?  I think I have the same capabilities as when I was younger, but the reality is I might not.  So don’t avoid the inevitable and check out your options for screening and assessments. To find a Driving Rehabilitation Specialist visit your My State Info page and you might also read about What to Expect When Referred to a Driving Rehabilitation Specialist.