If you have a relative that is a senior driver, you may be facing an important dilemma – how to determine if and when they should stop driving. You want them remain as safe as possible and ensure that they're not at a high risk for causing an accident, but you also want them to maintain this part of their independence for as long as possible.
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The following are some factors to consider as you help your loved one make the important decision of whether or not to stop driving:
Consider Their Individual Circumstances
Everyone is different, so don’t necessarily go by a friend or neighbor’s experience. For example, consider whether they have any vision issues or other health-related problems that impairs their ability to drive safely. Do they take any medications that cause problematic side effects, such as dizziness? Can they easily look over their shoulder to check traffic in blind spots? Also consider whether their ability to hear has declined. An important part of driving is being able to hear sirens, honking horns, and other noises that alert you to potential problems.
Be Aware of Warning Signs
Stay alert for signs that their ability to drive may have declined. These include the following:
Getting lost in familiar areas
Having an increased number of near accidents
Receiving multiple tickets
Feeling more tense or distracted than you used to when they're driving
Ask for Feedback
If you’re concerned about your loved one's driving, ask them if you could ride along with them, preferably at different times of day and under varying conditions. You may be able to spot some areas of concern that they may not necessarily have noticed. For example, they may be following more closely behind other cars than they previously did. Or their ability to drive well at night may have declined. Give them honest feedback but be considerate of their feelings, as they may feel embarrassed or defensive. Be kind and constructive when giving them feedback.
Be Willing to Change
Sometimes a change in your loved one's driving habits is all that’s needed. Perhaps they shouldn’t drive at night if they have trouble seeing when it’s dark. Or they might have trouble only on the interstate and can stick to secondary roads.
The time may come, however, when the best step is for your loved one to stop driving entirely, whether it be for their safety or for those on the road around them. Sarasota Bay Club has many convenient on-site services as well as on-site transportation. Contact us to find out more about our community and how we can help your loved one get where they need to go!