Changes Affecting Driver Safety

Driving is a complex skill. The ability to drive safely can be affected by changes in our physical, emotional, and mental conditions. Many of those changes take place as we get older. But we change in different ways and at different times.

Age alone is not a good predictor of driving safety or ability. But safety research clearly shows that declines in our physical, emotional, and mental abilities can signal a greater crash risk or unsafe driving.

One key to safety is knowing when we or another driver is at increased risk. To do that we must be attentive and know what to look for. Visit the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's (NHTSA) web page, Driving Safely While Aging Gracefully, to read more about the changes that can affect safe driving and the signs that indicate the need to take a closer look at a person's driving.

Conditions and Diseases That Can Affect Driving

Various medical conditions and diseases can affect an individual’s ability to drive safely. NHTSA has developed a series of brochures about driving and specific medical conditions and diseases that most frequently affect the ability of older adults to drive safely.

Each brochure includes:

  • Symptoms of the disease or condition;
  • How these may affect driving;
  • Suggested steps that drivers can take to increase their driving safety if they have the disease or condition; and
  • Relevant resources for drivers faced with the disease or condition.

NHTSA has developed each brochure in partnership with a leading consumer group or professional association focused on a particular disease or condition.

See newly posted and additional brochures from NHTSA. You may print out any of the brochures for free.