Signs that you should stop driving

Thursday September 5 2019

Frequently losing one’s direction and ending up

Frequently losing one’s direction and ending up in unknown locations may be a sign of cognitive decline. It is advisable to stop driving when this happens atleast until a remedy is sought. NET photo 

By Roland D. Nasasira

Stephen Kijjambu considers himself a living testimony. He arrived at this conclusion, when in October 2012, his car, a Mitsubishi Pajero got off the road and ended up in a roadside trench at Makindye in circumstances he did not understand at the time. Luckily, he didn’t sustain any injuries.
That day, all seemed normal but all of a sudden, he experienced an attack that doctors later said was a stroke that caused him to lose control of the car.
Even before that accident, Kijambu had been battling diabetes for approximately three years, a condition Dr Eric Kiyimba who at that time carried out a medical examination on Kijjambu discovered caused insufficient flow and supply of blood to the brain.
According to Kiyimba, risks of stroke are high in people who are diabetic and have high blood pressure. Medically, a stroke is also sometimes known as a brain attack.
“When I was diagnosed with stroke, that was the end of my driving. I was cautioned that if I persisted and drove again, the stroke could resurface at any time anywhere,” Kijjambu recalls.
Like Kijjambu, there comes a moment in your life when you have no option but to surrender your car keys because of a prevailing condition. Most of these conditions are due to your health and at sometimes age.

Poor eyesight
Charles Ssebambulidde, the spokesperson of the traffic directorate notes that when it comes to driving, there are certain important health aspects to note.
“It is very clear that when you are applying for a driving permit, your eye sight is tested because the driving permit has restrictions. If you wear spectacles or have any other problems with your sight, it will be indicated.
Sometimes you are also restricted on the class of vehicle to drive or even advised against driving,” Ssebambulidde explains.
When you go to renew yor permit, your eyesight is still tested again. For safety, driving requirements dictate that one must be physically fit, have proper sight, be of sound mind and still be energetic enough to drive.

Memory loss
Much as it is difficult for law enforcement officers to identify a motorist with memory loss, the people you live with can point out indications of memory loss. If you do not heed to such advice, the onus is on them to report to traffic police or any other authorities to find a permanent solution.
“Police may not ably detect that you have memory loss but if detected, traffic police will retain your permit and advise you to visit a doctor.
It is the doctors’ recommendations that guide us (traffic police) on the appropriate action basing on your health. It may be a police surgeon or any other qualified doctor or hospital institution,” Ssebambulidde adds.

Impaired vision
While driving, you must not only have a strong sense of judgement but you must also have the ability to see other road users from a distance.
Eyesight defects such as short sightedness may not allow you to see objects at a distance clearly.
It is only when you get closer that you are or will be able to see such objects clearly, yet according to Peter Mugabe, a freelance optician, a driver will not have the luxury to get closer to another car or object before making a decision.
“If you find that you have to squint, then you might have to visit an optician. Other conditions include bjects at a distance appearing blurry.
You might see two cars when in reality, there is only one car,” Mugabe explains.
The other early sign of short sightedness may be your inability to see well especially at night.
The moment you notice these signs, Mugabe cautions that you seek urgent examination from an optician to manage the problem before you get involved in a car crash.
Some of the likely remedies may include being given spectacles to improve your sight or undergo an eye operation as a last resorts, or even both.

Getting Lost
The Seniorlist, an online portal, states that everyone gets lost now and again, but in older adults this may happen with increased frequency—even in familiar locations.
Not only does this indicate a potential cognitive decline, but it also increases the chances that seniors will wind up in distress and unable to access help while in an unknown area.
If this happens frequently, it may be time to take the passenger seat and let others chauffer you.

Increasing physical limitations
According to the Seniorlist, portal adds that aging bodies often suffer from range-of-motion and dexterity issues. If chronic pain or lack of mobility starts to interfere with a senior’s ability to check the rear view mirror, stay in his lane, or use a turn signal, he may no longer be able to drive safely. Other physical changes which may impede a senior’s inability to drive safely include vision and hearing problems.