Medication & Conditions Affect Driving

As you age, some medications and medical conditions can make driving unsafe. It's important to understand how to safely manage things like slower response times, vision challenges and how to know which medications could be placing you or a loved one at risk while driving. Watch videos that give you tools to understand driving with diabetes, after a stroke and other key conditions.

Medication & Conditions Affect Driving

Keeping Seniors Driving Safely: Understand What Affects Driving 

As you age, some medications and medical conditions can make driving unsafe.  Most of us want to continue driving for as long as possible. So, it’s very important to understand how over-the-counter and prescribed medications, as well as certain medical conditions, can affect driving.  And, with this knowledge, you can work to make adjustments and prevent unsafe driving situations.


(Click to See Answers)

How is it possible to safely manage slower response times behind the wheel?
According to the AAA Senior Driving, to compensate for slower reation times:

  • Avoid driving during high traffic congestion times
  • Increase the distance between you and the car ahead of you
  • Minimize left turns
  • Get rid of distractions while driving (e.g., radio, people talking)
  • Plan and know your directions before starting out
  • If you didn’t get enough sleep, don’t drive drowsy
At night there's more glare and it's harder to see. Are there ways to manage driving at night safely?
First and foremost, the AAA recommends if you can avoid driving at night, when vision changes with age, it’s wise to do so.   Below are several key tips, and more can be found at AAA Senior Driving at Night:

  • Keep moving your eyes and avoid staring at lights
  • Drive at reduced speeds, but within the safe driving limits
  • To avoid being blinded by another driver’s high beam lights, look down to the right side of the road, with the road lines still in your vision.
With Parkinson's Disease, how can I/they safely drive?
According to the AAA and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, driving can be unsafe due to Parkinson’s Disease. However, there are circumstances that make it safer to drive, with your doctor’s approval:

  • Earlier stages of Parkinson’s you can drive safely, if you follow your doctor’s directions
  • Keeping active to build or maintain muscle strength can help keep you safer behind the wheel, as recommended  by your doctor
  • An occupational therapist may also be called in by your doctor to help test you and work with you to keep you safe while driving


  • % of Seniors Who Have Never Discussed Medications & Driving With Their Doctor, accoording to the AAA 50% 50%
  • % People in 70s Having Arthritis/Crippling Joint Inflammation Making Turns and Twisting Moves While Driving a Risk (AAA) 80% 80%

Number of Major Decisions Made by Average Driver per Mile Driven, according to AAA


New prescriptions or changes in medication dosage can place senior driving safety at risk.


Steering wheel covers are a LOW COST safety solution  for weaker, arthritic hands to improve grip.


Sleep Apnea, Diabetes, Stroke, Parkinson’s, Dementia & Arthritis impact driving safety!

According to AAA research, several common medications are known to impact driving, such as cough medications and decongestants.  Many medications have side effects, like blurred vision and dizziness. Medical conditions also affect driving.  It’s important to recognize early if there’s an issue.  Determine if you or your loved one has one or more of the 6 most common medical conditions that could could affect their driving. 


Tools & Resources at Your Fingertips


Track Medications & Warnings

Roadwise RX is a free, confidential tool developed by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety.  Enter all prescribed and over-the-counter medications being taken into RoadwiseRXThen, print the results and discuss with your doctor.  Extra benefit: You now have a printable updated medication list for tracking purposes.

Additional Valuable  Tools & Resources

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