Earning the privilege of a driver’s license represents a sense of personal freedom and independence. You might even say it’s a rite of passage. Giving up that privilege can be devastating and signal the end is near. No wonder why older adults resist admitting it’s time to voluntarily give up driving. Losing control of a vehicle due to confusion or panic can result in a catastrophic car accident and this is why it’s critical to address driving problems quickly. There are no hard and fast rules relating to seniors and driving so here are some tips to consider when talking to an older adult about safe driving and possibly giving up the keys.
Elderly people face many challenges resulting in the loss of freedom and may be hyper-resistant when it comes to giving up their license and perceived freedoms. Since it’s taken for granted, people usually fail to recognize just how much of a factor driving plays in someone’s quality of life. Discussions with a senior citizen about driving should be planned in advance. This is a process that will include several discussions over a period of time so it’s important to maintain reasonable expectations. The decision is ultimately up to the person who will be relinquishing the keys however, in cases where you suspect vision or cognition errors (dementia or early onset alzheimer’s) their health care provider may need to be consulted .
Older drivers are typically very safe but there can be changes that affect driving skills as they age. Over time muscles weaken and joints stiffen making it increasingly difficult to back up, check the blind spot or brake properly. Eyesight and hearing may also be impacted. Older adults often have an issue with night driving and may shy away from maintaining minimum speed while driving. Peripheral vision narrows and problems from eye disease may impact driving skills. Always try and confirm that an older driver is in good health, and check to see if any prescribed medication they are taking will alter their driving skills.
Before you have any driving-related discussions, it’s important to ride with an elderly driver and assess their skill level. These signs may indicate some sort of impairment:
• Frequent car accidents
• Becoming lost on familiar roads
• Increased dents and scrapes on the vehicle, tire rims and garage doors
• Slow response rapidly developing situations
• Difficulty seeing traffic signs and pavement markings
• Difficulty turning around when backing up
• An unusual number of tickets or warnings
Easing the transition with an older driver to the use of alternate forms of transportation can relieve a lot of the stress and anxiety they may be feeling. Civic groups and religious organizations often have volunteers willing to provide free rides. Once an elderly person realizes that they can continue to live a full life without driving, the transition will be much easier.
We represent people who are injured because of the careless and reckless acts of others. At the end of the day your case can only be settled one time and you need to know all of the facts beforehand. The reason that insurance companies have paid our clients in excess of $130,000,000.00 is that we get the facts and are not intimidated at the prospect of going to trial when insurance companies fail to offer full compensation. We help with serious injuries that require serious representation. We are the Law Offices of Guenard & Bozarth, LLP. Our attorneys have more than 60 years of experience specializing in only representing injured people. Call GB Legal 24/7/365 at 888-809-1075 or visit www.gblegal.com We would be honored to represent you!