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Elderly Parents and Driving: When It’s Time To Take The Keys

By: Donna Chaffins | Date: March 28, 2013 | Categories: Family and Health, Guest Posts, Health and Fitness

Guest Post

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No one looks forward to addressing the fact that their elderly parents should cease driving. It’s a difficult hurdle to cross but, it is an important one. Seniors generally do not wish to give up driving, since it is asking to give up part of their freedom. However, it is necessary to address some of the signs that indicate it is time for an elderly parent to stop driving, as outlined below.

1. Slower Response Rates

It is natural for seniors to exhibit longer responses to many things, from communicating to movement. While elders do not necessarily need to have the reflexes of a teen in order to drive, they must have the ability to respond to the many sudden traffic changes and react quickly enough to emergency situations.

2. Poor Eyesight

A seniors auto reactions that aren’t adequately corrected might be a sign of poor eyesight and that it is time to quit driving. Whether you ask a DMV agent or a car accident lawyer in West Palm Beach, they might both suggest that even if a senior has passed a driving test eye exam, they must still demonstrate that they see well enough to manage driving safely.

3. Take A Look At Their Car

If there are more noticeable dents and dings on the car, this is a sign that they are not driving effectively and indicative that a major accident is just waiting to happen.

Concentration problems are evident when there are many near misses occurring on the road. Everyone can experience a rare close call, but an elder who is having them with regularity should not be driving. Also, if anyone is fearful of being in a car that a senior is driving, it is time for them to stop.

4. Physical Limitations

Physical impairments that cause difficulties maneuvering the car, such as turning or merging effectively, are other indicators that a senior should not be driving. All drivers need to be cognizant of the surrounding traffic and able to adjust appropriately.

5. Getting Lost Regularly

This is another sign that it is time for an elder to stop driving. Anyone can lose their way, but a senior who gets confused on a regular basis may be experiencing loss of memory that may seriously impair their ability to drive safely.

Higher Accident Danger

Accident rates, as well as insurance costs, generally rise around the age of 65. The main reason that more accidents occur after this age is the inability to handle all of the tasks involved in driving properly. Also, keep in mind that seniors have a 4-time higher accident and 9-time fatality rate than other age groups.

One of the more notable tragedies occurred in Santa Monica, California, when an 89-year-old man mistakenly put his foot on the gas rather than the brake at a farmer’s market. As a result, a staggering ten people were killed and over 70 injured as the out of control car roared through the blocked off street. The man was convicted of manslaughter as a result of this very unfortunate catastrophe.

If there is any doubt about an elder parent’s ability to drive safely, take car trips with them to see how well they are managing. Be ready to step in and drive if necessary. Do not let them drive if it has been apparent that they are unable to do so competently. If you need help deterring them from driving, seek the advice of a counselor who specializes in dealing with senior citizens.

Driving for her mother gives Nadine Swayne the experience and compassion to present this information. At Steinger, Iscoe & Greene, you can find a car accident lawyer in West Palm Beach that can assist with legal representation if your elderly parent has been involved in a collision. They are committed to fighting for the rights of their clients.

14 Responses to Elderly Parents and Driving: When It’s Time To Take The Keys

  1. Maryann says:

    This is something I watch out for all the time.

  2. Mellisa says:

    My parents aren’t quite to this point but it’s something to keep in mind.

  3. Sheilacakes says:

    It’s something to really consider. Living in Florida I am extra careful when it comes to drivers when I am walking.

  4. Seriously I would want to turn in my keys when I’m old.

  5. Leilani says:

    My husband has a great aunt who’s around 83 years old and she still drives. Kinda scary when you think about it.

  6. This is something I just spoke about with my hubby a few weeks ago.

  7. Jennifer says:

    it’s such a touchy subject to bring up, have you ever noticed that? My parents aren’t to this point yet but I hope I can bring it up nicely when the time comes

  8. I can’t imagine how difficult this must be — for everyone

  9. Marcie W. says:

    My grandfather is over 80, and sadly, he should not be on the road.

  10. My parents would be in their mid to late 80s if they were alive, so we never got to that point. My father-in-law is at that point now. I rode with him while I was on disability and it was terrifying! He has made the choice to not drive much anymore, which is a relief.

  11. This is such a tough subject, and one I’ll have to deal with in a few years. I know my mom is going to resist giving up that independence.

  12. Stefani says:

    Great post, thanks for sharing.

  13. Nadine says:

    Thanks! I thought this was a good article to write because I drove for my parents since 2005. It scares me to think of my mom, now widowed, to drive in this crazy world. I take pride in being a chauffeur for my mom!

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