Driving and aging is a very important topic for so many people in our society with an aging population. As we get older and our parents get older, their ability to react quickly behind the wheel and even their ability to reason may begin to deteriorate. What are the stages of deterioration and at what point is it no longer safe to drive. We’d like to offer you these resources:
- Tips on how to tell when it is time to stop driving.
- Advice on how to assist a parent who is becoming unsafe behind the wheel.
- When an aging person needs to get assessed.
If you or those who drive with you notice any of the following warning signs an evaluation of your driving is recommended. Do you, or someone you know:
- fail to observe or notice signs, signals or other traffic?
- need help or instructions from passengers?
- make slow or poor decisions?
- get easily frustrated or confused?
- drive at an inappropriate speed?
- sometimes start to drift across lane markings, into other lanes?
- have a history of accidents or near misses?
What to do
Sometimes the idea of the potential loss of freedom can cause people to ignore or minimize the warning signs. Keep in mind that if these warning signs are present, it is urgent to look into them. Also losing driving privileges is not the only outcome of an assessment. Sometimes aids can be used to make driving safer, other times partial restrictions, like driving shorter distances or only during the day are required.
If you are afraid to confront a loved one about their dangerous driving because they might become angry that you are trying to have their freedom taken away, there are people you can turn to for help. You can try your loved one’s doctor or another health professional who has a responsibility and the authority to deal with the situation. Let that person know that our services are available and that we have experience assessing and dealing with these situations. You might even consider bringing them a copy of our referral form if you think that would help them.