Driving and Alzheimer's Disease: The Risk of Crashes
If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, there are a few important things you’ll need to consider.
If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, there are a few important things you’ll need to consider. You should know how life will change with these diagnosis, and you need to know the risks of continuing to drive. Millions of Americans live with Alzheimer’s, so you’re not alone. Here’s everything you need to know about living with this disease.
How does Alzheimer’s affect the brain?
When you have Alzheimer's disease brain, the neurons are badly affected. Your brain’s neurons process and transmit signals to the rest of your brain and other parts of the body. Because Alzheimer’s causes damage to neurons, it affects your brain’s ability to communicate between neurons or repair neurons. It can also affect your brain’s ability to remember, to speak, and to reason. Eventually, your brain will be unable to function.
When you’re affected by Alzheimer’s, you lose your ability to remember things, to understand what’s going on, and to solve problems. You will sometimes experience mood changes or poor judgment. You will misplace things and not remember where you put them. Unfortunately, it’s unclear exactly how and why Alzheimer’s develops.
What is the likelihood of causing a car accident?
Alzheimer’s is a progressive disease, meaning you will get worse as you live with it. This means that you might feel perfectly safe to drive after you’re first diagnosed. You might resent the idea of giving up driving and worry about relying on other people or public transportation to get around. After being diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, you should discuss your symptoms with a loved one and decide together when you should stop driving, whether immediately or in a few months.
As your Alzheimer’s progresses, it becomes more and more likely that you will cause a car accident by continuing to drive. You might become lost while driving or find it difficult to stay in your lane. You might drive too slowly or too quickly, or you might simply become confused and start to panic. If you begin to exhibit unsafe driving, you should stop driving immediately so you don’t hurt yourself or others by causing an accident.
What do I do if I cause an accident?
If you continue to drive after being diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, and you cause an accident, you will need a car accident attorney in Nashville or wherever you live. In this situation, not only are you liable for the accident, but if your children know that you have been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, they may also be liable. This is because they didn’t do enough to dissuade you from driving even though it was unsafe. If you find yourself in an accident, make sure you call the authorities and your insurance company. Check in with the other driver and make sure everyone is OK. You should also call a family member to come get you at the scene, even if your car is not damaged. Being in an accident is a clear sign that you should no longer be driving.
Ultimately, it’s best to avoid putting yourself or your children into a bad situation. Once you are diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, you should make plans for finding alternate transportation. You can sell your car or give it to a family member so you’re not tempted to drive. Although it can be a struggle to give up your ability to drive yourself, it’s best for you and your family (as well as others on the road) if you cease driving immediately. Being diagnosed with Alzheimer’s is already scary. You can make it a little less frightening by not driving.