Driving Safety for Seniors

When is the right time for a conversation with your parents about driving?
By continuing to drive, are your parents putting their own safety at risk? The safety of others? Statistics reveal that most seniors are safe drivers, with few driving citations and high seat belt use. Therefore, giving up driving should be an individualized decision, based on skill, level of health and independence. Here are a few things to look for:

Five Common Warning Signs
• Other drivers honking
• Dents or scrapes on the car or garage
• Trouble navigating turns
• Driving at an inappropriate speed
• Confusing the gas and brake pedals

Before talking with older drivers about limiting or stopping driving, identify transportation alternatives:
• Are family and friends available to provide rides at required times?
• Can others provide the rides willingly or will they resent having to change their schedules?
• Is there something that the older driver can trade for a ride (paying for gas, taking the driver to lunch)?

Once you’ve assessed the situation, have a conversation with your parents. You may need follow-up talks. It will take time and patience to make what to most seniors will be a very big change.