Determining when parents should stop driving, and convincing seniors that the time has come, is one of the most difficult tasks faced by families. Doctors, case managers and other professionals can play an important role in this discussion.
Warning Signs: Warning signs that it may be time to stop driving include:
• Changing lanes without signaling
• Going through stop signs or red lights
• Reacting slowly
• Problems reading road signs or traffic signals
• Straying into other lanes
• Going too fast or too slow for safety
• Exhibiting problems making turns at intersections, especially left turns
• Performing jerky stops or starts
• Frequent “close calls” (i.e. crashes)
• Dents or scrapes on the car, mail box, garage door, etc.
Begin discussing driver safety. Have discussions early and often. Be sensitive in your approach. Express positive and supportive feelings.
Encourage habits that make for safer driving, such as:
• Avoid night driving, rush hour, or being on the road in bad weather.
• Limit trips in the car to shorter distances. Plan and know the route in advance.
• Allow more space between his or her car and the one in front. This can support a driver with slowing reaction time.
• Make sure their medications don’t affect alertness or ability to drive.
Encourage the driver to consider and gradually begin using other methods of transportation such as rides from family and friends, public transportation, taxis, and senior transportation services.
Involve others if driving is dangerous.
If the driver refuses to make changes or stop driving, involve the family doctor.
1) In Arizona, a letter from a doctor to the Department of Motor Vehicles seems to result in prompt action;
2) Some home care agencies, such as Care Corner, can either drive the client as part of their service, or will do grocery shopping and run errands for the client.
This article has been excerpted from the AARP website.