As your parent ages, you may worry about how declining abilities affect driving skills. Older adults often suffer significant injuries or fatalities in automobile accidents. They are also slower to heal and more likely to experience ongoing complications following the incident. Legal issues can present unique problems for seniors.
Approaching this subject with your mom or dad is likely not easy, as no one likes losing independence. Before you take away the keys, assess your relative’s driving capabilities, physical health and mental state. Look for signs that operating a motor vehicle may no longer be safe.
How does age affect a person’s abilities behind the wheel?
Every person ages differently and has unique health concerns. There is no specific age indicating someone can no longer drive. However, seniors are more likely to get in car accidents than other adult drivers. Various factors contribute to potential problems operating a vehicle, such as:
- Impaired vision or hearing
- Frequent pain or stiffness
- Slowed reflexes
- Reduced strength or coordination
- Medication side effects
What are warning signs of unsafe driving?
Have you heard frequent complaints from your parent about near misses, getting lost or increasing driving frustrations? Does your mom or dad struggle to see objects clearly, have trouble focusing when there are distractions or become easily confused? Getting in the car and assessing your parent’s driving abilities can help determine your next steps. Take notice of additional indicators, such as comments about other drivers’ lack of skills, new dents or scratches on the car, or recent traffic tickets.
Understanding the laws and analyzing whether your parent is safe behind the wheel is vital to help prevent potentially devastating car wrecks.