Are you growing more concerned about your parents as they age? If so, then you may already be thinking about how you can talk to them about safe driving practices — and whether it’s time for them to give up driving altogether.
That can be a difficult conversation, especially when your parent thinks that they’re more capable than they are.
Fortunately, there are some things that you can do to make this discussion easier. Your first step is fully understanding how age can affect driving abilities so that you can clearly articulate those issues to your parents.
How age can impact driving ability
Our bodies change significantly as we age, and these changes can have a direct impact on our ability to drive in a safe fashion. Here are just some of the ways that age may impact your parent’s driving capabilities:
- Decreased vision
- Reduced hearing
- Stiffness and pain in the neck that can make it hard to look over the shoulder
- Leg pain that can make pressing gas and brake pedals difficult or slow
- Reduced strength, which can impact the ability to make quick turns and implement evasive maneuvers when needed
- Slowed reaction times
- Decreased ability to multitask while driving
The existence of any one of these conditions can put your parent at risk of being involved in a serious accident that may be difficult for him or her to recover from. You certainly don’t want that to happen.
By discussing these issues with your loved one, you may be able to help them see the risks, which may spur them to take action to ensure their safety.
What can your loved one do to stay safe on the road?
If, despite your best efforts, your parent continues to drive, then you may want to talk to them about what they can do to stay as safe as possible on the road. This may include:
- Getting regular vision examinations to ensure that they are seeing as best as possible when behind the wheel
- Obtaining regular hearing tests to ensure that they can be aware of their surroundings when they’re out on the road
- Exercising routinely to maintain strength and flexibility so that they are better prepared to react to their environment when driving
- Keeping their car in good repair
- Getting plenty of sleep to ensure alertness when driving
- Implementing defensive driving techniques
- Recognizing their own limitations so that they can avoid driving when it’s dangerous to do so
If, however, you see your parent getting in multiple close calls, receiving multiple traffic tickets, or having difficulty hearing, seeing, or remembering, then you may need to be more aggressive in your efforts to try to keep your loved one off the road.
We know that can be difficult but try to keep the focus on their safety and what you can do provide them with the transportation and independence that they seek.
What if your parent is involved in an accident?
If your parent is involved in a wreck, then you may want to talk to them about the circumstances surrounding the accident to better determine if legal action is warranted.
If it is or it’s hard to tell, then you might want to reach out to a legal professional who can help you assess the situation. Hopefully then your parent can obtain the representation that they need to find accountability and recover the compensation that they need to offset their damages.