When it comes to aging, one of the hardest things to lose is a sense of independence and what greater loss of independence than not driving where you want to go and when you want to go. While it may be difficult to turn in your car keys, there is care and concern for keeping you and others safe on the road. After all, we’ve seen the news stories where someone accelerates instead of braking or the reaction time is delayed.
Keeping Your Loved Ones Safe on the Road
It’s important for you and friends and family to realize when it’s time to be chauffeured for the safety of others and more importantly your safety. Older drivers are actually more likely to be involved in car accidents, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
You can help your loved one stay safe on the road by tuning into their habits and abilities. If you need help having the hard conversation, you can always recruit another family member or close person or contact a home health care service for advice.
Knowing When to Take Away the Keys
There’s no magic number to take away the keys from someone. It all depends on his or her driving abilities and mental state. Remember it’s always better to act early than wait for an accident. You can first suggest a driving test available at your local DMV. It can help to have the truth heard from a stranger than a loved one.
This step should be used cautiously after much consideration and handled delicately: you are able to report an unsafe driver to their local DMV. You’ll need some documents including: name as shown on driver’s license, date of birth, driver’s license number, current address and concerns for why his or her driving is unsafe. You should be able to do this anonymously.
If a senior is still in good shape and just needs a brush up on driving safety, you can try a driver safety course to relearn defensive driving techniques, operating the vehicle safely and even learning accommodations for age related issues. An added bonus is by taking the course, seniors may receive an insurance discount.
What to WATCH OUT for:
So, what exactly should you and your loved one look out for? There is an array of things but you know your older friend best. Here are some things to keep an eye out for:
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Remember, you know your older family or friend best so take into consideration their feelings but also acknowledge when it’s time to accept help. Bringing in outside help may help and remember earlier is better than later.