Elderly Driver Safety

One of the hardest things my mother had to do was decide when it was time for my grandmother to stop driving. Giving up her car felt synonymous with giving up her independence and admitting that she wasn't capable, and it was a struggle.

However, when you take the emotion out of it, it simply makes sense to keep an eye out for the warning signs. Statistics show that the risk of being injured and killed increases as people age.

Ten Warning Signs:
1. Gets easily confused in traffic and lost easily.
2. Drifts into other lanes, straddles lanes, or makes sudden changes.
3. Brakes or accelerates without reason.
4. Is increasingly nervous or easily distracted.
5. Has difficulty seeing pedestrians, road signs, or vehicles.
6. Difficulty seeing at night.
7. Drives significantly slower.
8. Problems with neck flexibility that impact the ability to turn the head.
9. Diminished reaction time.
10. Increased "close calls" or "near misses" - dents or scrapes on the car that can't be explained.

When you notice several of these signs, it's time to assess the situation. Don't wait for an accident. However, it's important to be sympathetic and get an opinion from the "experts". In my mother's case, she brought it up with my grandmother's doctor, who then told my grandmother she'd like her to take a driving test, implying that it was standard procedure for her patients. My grandmother was so nervous by that prospect that she willingly gave up her keys.

It may be worth suggesting a Mature Driving course. Seniors who complete the course are usually eligible for insurance discounts, and if there is a problem, the instructors can help guide you in the right direction.

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