Learn About the Brain, Dementia and Driving

Learn About the Brain, Dementia and Driving

Memory, attention, judgment and decision making are all needed for safe driving.

With age, how the brain works can change. While it can take older adults longer to process new information, they often have better focus, and decision making and problem solving skills.

How the brain works can be affected by some medications, lack of sleep and serious health conditions, such as stroke and dementia.

Alzheimer's disease or other forms of dementia affect how the brain works. Usually, symptoms develop slowly and get worse over time. Dementia weakens skills that are needed to drive safely, including memory, judgment, vision, reaction time and problem solving.

Warning signs that dementia might be affecting driving include:

  • Getting lost in familiar places
  • Confusing the gas and brake pedals
  • Stopping in traffic for no reason
  • Having trouble exiting a highway

People who have been diagnosed with dementia will need to stop driving at some point.

Physicians, neurologists and other health professionals can help determine whether it's safe for someone with dementia to drive.