When It’s Time for a Senior to Give Up Driving

An Auto Insurance Special Topic

Anyone will find it very hard to implement change.

Though sticking through a diet plan, an exercise regimen or educational program, successfully doing so results in positive changes a person feels good about. When it comes to an older driver having to give up driving, the loss of associated independence is painful – and very much so.

Nonetheless, telling a senior to stop driving may be a necessary evil at some point or other.

Once an older driver begins to show a decline in physical or mental abilities that include poor eyesight, loss of hearing, slower reflexes, arthritis, diabetes – and certainly Parkinson’s Disease, and dementia – he or she is prone to become a danger on the road. Moreover, dependence on certain medications, like anti-anxiety medicine, narcotics and sleeping pills make for a sure-risk to the driver, other drivers and passengers as well as pedestrians.

To underscore the safety concerns of the older driver, insurance sources say auto crash fatalities increase with those over the age of 70.

Take a look at some of the warning signs that may indicate it’s no longer a good idea to be the navigator behind the wheel of a car:

• Tendency to become distracted

• slow to react

• difficulty staying within lines of the lane

• difficulty switching to proper traffic lane

• hitting curbs

• scratching or denting the car or banging into the garage or curbside mailbox

• Side sweeping other vehicles

• Driving excessively fast or slow

• Not stopping on a red light or by a stop sign

• Stopping at a green light or when there is not a stop sign

• Tendency to get lost

Because it is such a touchy subject and a change that will have such an impact on your loved one’s life, telling a senior driver to give up driving is something to plan for before discussing it.

Prepare a list of things you or others have observed that are telltale signs it’s time to leave the driving to others.

Arrange for alternate ways of transportation that your loved one can rely on after he or she no longer drives: relatives, friends, volunteers from a senior facility, public bus or train services, car services and so on.

Think of ways your senior can fill the gap in life that he or she will feel once the keys are not at disposal.

Above all, keep sensitivity in mind at all times. Be kind and compassionate while showing your loved one you support and respect him or her and understand how hard a life-change of such proportion can be.