Alzheimer’s: When to Stop Driving

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When someone decides to operate a motor vehicle, they agree to follow the rules of the road. Drivers must wear their seatbelts, remain focused on what’s happening around them, pay close attention to other drivers, and be aware of pedestrians, animals, and road obstacles.

A driver’s reaction time can be crucial to preventing road incidents, as reaction time refers to how quickly or how long a person takes to respond to a stimulus. Someone’s reaction time can make a difference in recognizing traffic light changes, deciding to hit the brake or the gas, noticing pedestrians and objects in the road, and realizing when another vehicle is merging or isn’t stopping when they should. Reaction times vary with each person and situation.

Under some circumstances, drivers may experience an impaired reaction time and an inability to concentrate on the road. Risky behaviors such as texting while driving, talking on the phone, eating and drinking, applying makeup, or changing the radio stations and volume of the music, are dangerous distractions that can slow a driver’s reaction time. Driving while intoxicated is illegal and inhibits someone’s vehicle operating capabilities, and like other distractions, it can result in accidents that cause injuries and fatalities.


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Involvement in a motor vehicle incident can have physical, medical, and financial consequences. Victims who sustain injuries in accidents and the families of people who lose their lives in crashes should consult legal professionals and seek the compensation they deserve. People who need a car accident attorney can turn to Lawsuit Infocenter for knowledgeable, qualified personal injury lawyers that can provide legal advice based on clients’ circumstances. Lawsuit Infocenter helps people find out their injury settlement’s worth and learn about car settlements according to state guides.

Reaction time inhibitors such as driving while distracted or intoxicated are choices people make. Still, in some cases, someone’s age and health, rather than their decisions, can compromise their ability to drive. Changes in motor skills due to arthritis and muscle pains, for example, can impair a person’s driving. Cognitive factors, rather than changes in mobility, are more likely to cause longer reaction times in older drivers.


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Someone with Alzheimer’s disease, for example, would lose the cognitive capabilities that driving requires. Alzheimer’s disease, a prevalent form of dementia, is a neurodegenerative disorder characterized by the wasting and death of one’s brain cells. This disease impacts approximately six million Americans. A common risk factor for developing Alzheimer’s is aging, as this condition typically occurs in adults over 65 years old. With Alzheimer’s disease, people become unable to converse, respond to environmental stimuli, or perform everyday activities.

Alzheimer’s disease causes cognitive impairment that can threaten an older adult’s safety. When older adults experience mild and severe Alzheimer’s symptoms and other challenges that impair their health and well-being, they should seek professional treatment and care. Consulting tools from the Fisher Center for Alzheimer’s Research Foundation, such as the Resource Locator tool, older adults, and their families, can find Alzheimer specialists and disease centers to provide specialized care.


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Older adults with Alzheimer’s should stop driving with the onset of even the mildest symptoms of this disease. Someone with Alzheimer’s disease shouldn’t drive if they get lost when they drive to familiar locations, confuse the brake and gas, drive too slow or fast, ignore traffic signs, and make road violations or cause accidents.

Family members, friends, and caretakers of individuals with Alzheimer’s disease or mild dementia who have and haven’t exhibited signs of unsafe driving should monitor their functioning and well-being, and consult Alzheimer’s specialists about one’s ability to drive and reducing and stopping driving.

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