January 28, 2020

5 hints to consider if it is still safe for your elderly loved one to drive.

Seniors are often distraught over having to give up driving. Driving is a sign of independence and freedom. Handing over the keys means one more step to losing that feeling of independence. However, it may no longer be safe for an elder to be driving due to the risk they pose to themselves and others. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, an average of 500 older adults are injured every day in a car crash.

Improper lane use:

Does your loved one tend to drift into other lanes or straddle lanes when they drive? Sudden lane changes without signaling is also a sign of improper lane use and very likely to cause an accident.

Brakes and acceleration:

Some seniors will stop abruptly for no reason or brake suddenly when merging into other traffic. Accelerating suddenly without cause is also a sign that it is not safe for your loved one to be driving. Nervous or confused elderly tend to drive at a much slower speed than what is posted and interrupt the general speed of other vehicles.

Accidents or near misses:

Have you or someone else been involved in an accident or a near miss while your loved one was behind the wheel? Have you been noticing dents or scrapes on the car or other things they could have run into, such as a fence, mailbox, garage door, and curb? Two or more traffic tickets or warnings within the past two years could be a sign that it is no longer safe for your loved one to drive.

Vision impaired:

Having difficulty seeing pedestrians, vehicles, road signs, and other objects means it is too dangerous for you to be driving.

Slow reflexes:

Difficulty reacting to multiple images or sounds. Flexibility becomes a problem when they are unable to turn their neck far enough to the left or right to see traffic.

When you start to notice these warning signs, it is time to take action. Senior care should not put it off and wait for an accident to happen. Instead of forcibly taking the keys away, suggest that your loved one take a driving test. Contact the local Department of Motor Vehicles and arrange for a driving assessment test. They will evaluate your loved one’s ability to operate a car.
If you are considering care for you or a loved one, please call Nightingale Private Care @ 772-245-8390.