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March 2006



When should you stop driving?

If you take a frog and toss it into a pot of boiling water, it will quickly leap out. But if you put a frog in a pot of cold water and turn on the heat, it will boil to death because frogs cannot detect gradual changes in their environment. It works much the same way with driving abilities.

It is just as unfair to label all elderly drivers as unsafe drivers as it is labeling all teen drivers the same. As teen driver's skills gradually improve with experience, so does a person's driving skills diminish with age.

Driving is a valued freedom and mark of independence for the elderly. But when should this privilege be given up? Revoking all drivers licenses after a certain age is not a fair option.

Operating a motor vehicle requires a complex combination of numerous skills. The mental and physical changes of aging can hinder these abilities. Changes include: slower response time; reduced strength and flexibility; vision and hearing impairments; drowsiness caused by medications; and, a reduced ability to concentrate or focus.

Here are some telltale signs we should be aware of that may indicate a decline in driving abilities:

- Driving at inappropriate speeds, either too fast or too slow.

- Slow response time to, or failing to notice, pedestrians, cyclists or other drivers.

- Failing to yield to others who have the right of way.

- Improperly judging distances between other vehicles while driving or parking.

- Bumping into curbs or drifting across traffic lane markings.

- Repeatedly getting lost, even in familiar areas.

- Ignoring signs of mechanical problems such as under inflated tires.

- Ignoring, misinterpreting or disobeying traffic signs and lights.

- Forgetting to turn on headlights at night.

- Having difficulty turning any part of the upper body while parking or driving.

- Asking passengers to check if it is clear to pass or turn.

- Becoming drowsy, frightened or confused.

- Lacking sufficient strength to turn steering wheel quickly in an emergency situation, such as a child darting into the street.

Harold noticed that he was having some problems with his driving. He went to his doctor to see if there were some medical reasons that might be the cause. So he won't be a danger to himself or others, Harold has made some changes to his driving patterns. This includes not driving at night and only driving to familiar locations close to home.

Want help with your estate wishes?

Call Hans Mathisen today at (306)242-7042.
or email -


Copyright 2005 Life Letter. All rights reserved

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