Do you worry about Mom or Dad driving? Are you wondering if they’re still safe to be behind the wheel? According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and research by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, older drivers are more likely to be involved in car accidents than drivers in their thirties, forties, or fifties. Additionally, older drivers are more likely to be killed in car accidents than their younger counterparts.
This means that, though it may be difficult, it’s important to keep an eye on seniors’ driving patterns and intervene when it’s time for them to stop driving.
5 Warning Signs That May Indicate It’s Time for a Senior to Stop Driving
How do you know that it’s time for a senior to stop driving? Each situation will vary, but these 5 warning signs may indicate that it’s no longer safe for a senior to drive.
Confusion or Difficulty With Gas and Break Pedals
Seniors may begin to exhibit difficulty remembering which pedal operates the gas or the brake. If they have a physical limitation that makes it difficult for them to operate the gas and brake pedals independently and reliably, this can indicate a serious safety issue.
Slow Response to Unexpected Situations
As we age, our response times also slow down. Seniors may begin to show slow response times to unexpected situations on the road, like a car swerving into their lane or someone stepping out into the road.
If a senior’s cognitive function declines, they may start to get lost or confused while they’re on the road. This can be worse at night. Seniors may find themselves getting turned around even when they’re in familiar locations, or having trouble remembering the route they need to take to get home. They may need to call a loved one for help, or may get lost and arrive late at their destination.
Car accidents are another indication that a senior may no longer be safe to drive. Accidents may be minor, including fender benders or accidents where the senior hits another car or object while parking.
Keep in mind that you may not be aware of the accidents themselves, but may notice unexplained damage on a senior’s car.
Confusion About Common Situations
You may also notice that a senior starts to become confused about common situations on the road, including how to navigate traffic signals. They may have difficulty merging, maintaining a steady speed, or staying within the marked road lines.
If you notice any of the above signs, then it may be time to talk with the senior about their safety behind the wheel.
Life After Driving
Many seniors resist giving up their ability to drive, because they see it as a loss of independence. However, there are ways that you can foster independence in a loved one, even if they aren’t able to drive.
Finding alternative transportation methods can help to ease a senior’s transition into giving up their car keys. Make a schedule so that family members and friends can stop by regularly to take the senior out. Try to make these outings fun – don’t just use them for errands, but include activities that your loved one would typically enjoy doing.
Home care can also help in this situation. Cahoon Care caregivers are available to help take seniors to doctor’s appointments, run errands, and accompany seniors to social activities.
Want to learn more? Please contact us today. We would be happy to answer any questions you have and discuss how we can help you and your loved one.