Seniors are always facing changes in their lives that result in their loss of freedom and mobility. How do you know when it’s time to tell a senior family member that they need to stop driving?
How do you know when it’s time to tell a senior family member that they need to stop driving? Being able to drive and owning a driver’s license gives a sense of freedom and independence that most people enjoy. It’s not an easy task to convince someone who has been driving their entire life that it’s time to give up that freedom due to their age, and the associated dangers they pose to themselves and others. Older adults often have difficulty realizing when they have reached an age that they need to voluntarily surrender their driver’s license. Losing control of a vehicle due to confusion, panic, or physical limitations can result in a catastrophic car accident, so it’s vital to address any potential driving problems very quickly. Every case is different, but here are a few tips to consider before talking about driving with your senior family members.
Seniors are always facing changes in their lives that result in their loss of freedom and mobility. Many younger people forget how important the ability to drive is in relation to many aspects of their daily lives. Something as simple as a trip to the grocery store can become a challenge for a senior who no longer is able to operate an automobile. As a result, they tend to be very inflexible when it comes to any sort of restriction on their driving privileges. Any discussion with a senior about driving should be planned well in advance. The process will likely include several discussions, so it’s important to maintain reasonable expectations. Try and arrange to talk during a quiet time of day, and remember that the decision is ultimately up to the person who will be relinquishing the keys.
Even though senior drivers often recognize their slowed reaction time and drive very safe, there are other medical issues that must be taken into consideration for both the safety of themselves and others. When muscles start to become weak and joints become less flexible, it can be difficult to turn around and see the vehicle during backing. It can also become very difficult to turn and check blind spots, or to brake properly in the event of a sudden stop. Eyesight and hearing may also be affected. Older adults often have impaired night vision and are much more distracted by glare. Peripheral vision narrows as we age, and vision problems from eye disease can impact driving skills. Always try and confirm that an older driver is in good health, and check to see if any prescribed medication they are taking will alter their driving skills.
If you have experienced any legal issues concerning a senior and a catastrophic injury due to motor vehicle operation, please contact Gilleon Law Firm, APC.