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Steven M. Lee, PC

When to Tell Your Parent It’s Time to Give Up the Car Keys


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3/6/2017
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From the moment you get behind the wheel of your first car, you feel a rush of exhilaration. Driving gives you a sense of freedom, a sense of control, and a sense of independence. These feelings stay with you throughout your life and become even more meaningful the older you get. Unfortunately, at a time when you desperately need an outlet to feel independent and free, the world cruelly begins to take away your physical abilities to drive.

Unfortunately, as soon as we reach a point in our lives where we have the time to enjoy driving, nature changes our capability to drive safely. Although you may have several long years before this change affects your driving, what about your parents or grandparents? Have they reached that moment, but refuse to acknowledge it? If so, it may be up to you to point it out.

The Right Time to Talk to Your Elderly Loved Ones About Putting Down the Keys

When you have concerns about an older adult’s ability to drive, no matter how awkward it may be, you need to address them; your concerns may be a precursor to a life-or-death situation.

It’s painful to tell someone you care about that he is no longer capable of driving a car. To him, your concern is just another reminder of his inability to take care of himself. However, you must be strong, because once the inevitable symptoms of old age start to affect your loved one’s driving, he puts himself and others at risk every time he gets behind the wheel. Think how you’d feel if he hurt himself or caused a serious collision as a result of your silence. Consequently, your loved one depends on you to recognize the following signs that he may be approaching an end to his driving career:

  • Recently diagnosed health issues. Extreme health concerns can drastically affect a person’s ability to focus on driving as well as control a vehicle. Diagnoses like dementia, multiple sclerosis, and seizure disorders are only a few conditions that can incapacitate an older driver and increase his risks for an accident.
  • Noticeably erratic driving behavior. If you notice changes in your loved one’s driving behavior, such as inconsistency with speeds, late braking, or trouble turning, you may want to discuss the issues with him to determine if he even knows that he is doing them. Depending on his response, you may have to discuss retiring the keys or have a conversation on safety.
  • Recently recurring episodes of forgetfulness or poor focus. A driver needs to stay focused at all times to drive safely. If you notice that your loved one gets easily distracted or frequently loses his train of thought, he may no longer be fit to drive.
  • Noticeably decreased reaction time. Delayed reflexes are a natural consequence of aging. However, if your loved one’s reaction time becomes too degraded, he may not be able to respond to potential traffic hazards until it’s too late. As a result, his risk for causing an accident significantly increases.

Encourage your friends and family to speak to their parents and grandparents about their driving sooner rather than later, by sharing this page on your social media. As a result of showing your concerns over the safety of elderly drivers, you may be able to persuade others to look at their own family’s driving habits. You may even wind up saving a life or two. Please, click the link and repost.
 



Category: Car Accidents and DWI Accidents

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Steven M. Lee
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