Although many older adults are still safe drivers and the independence of driving can be beneficial to their health, nevertheless normal age-related changes in the body can make driving difficult or even dangerous for them and others. Giving up their license can be a big step as it is often seen as an admission that they are older and less capable so they don’t want to talk about it.
If you find your parent or loved one resists a conversation look for warning signs before starting a discussion. That helps you know if you need to insist on talking about it now because there are real reasons to be worried or if they are ok for a little longer.
Their car has fresh dents and scrapes
One good indicator is how your parents’ car looks. Check the surrounding area (driveway, garage door etc.) as well. This can quickly tell you if they have problems while driving. Maybe they mention getting traffic tickets or warnings.
Their driving habits have changed
Look for definite red flags for example, has a conscientious seatbelt wearer stopped using it? Are they missing stop signs or other traffic signals?
They’re straining to see
It’s essential to have good vision to drive. That’s why if you know that your loved one has an eye condition such as glaucoma or macular degeneration, they definitely should not be driving.
Driving has become stressful, confusing, or exhausting
If you know that your parent is working hard to compensate for any physical challenges, the best advice you can give them is to take a break for a while. They may show signs such as:
· Getting lost more easily, even in familiar areas.
· Struggling to back up or turn the car around.
· Having trouble seeing or keeping track of traffic signals, road signs, or pavement markings.
· Mixing up the gas and brake pedals or pressing them both at the same time.
· Not being able to tolerate any distractions.
· Responding slowly to unexpected situations.
· Having road rage or causing other drivers to honk
They’re having close calls
If you’re loved ones have had several close accidents, that’s a sign that could be a problem while driving such as misreading traffic signals or road signs, or underestimating the speed of oncoming cars.
Driving at night makes them nervous
If your parent doesn't like to drive at night anymore, that’s a very important sign that their driving skills are deteriorating.
Other people are getting scared
When a close friend or a family member comments about not feeling comfortable when your parents are driving, that means something bad is happening when your loved ones are driving.
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