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Aging parents and driving: Keeping your loved one safe

Aging parents and drivingAs an adult with aging parents, you might be concerned about their continued safety behind the wheel. You know that being able to drive is a huge source of independence. The choice to give up their driving license should not be taken lightly.

How do you know if it is the right time?

Aging parents and driving

The good news, according to an article on AAA’s Senior Driving website, is that many seniors are keeping their license longer with fewer accidents than in the past. There is no “certain age” in which someone needs to give up their license. Unsafe driving often is a result of a medical condition or medications.

Sometimes working with a professional to address an underlying medical condition or taking a safe driving course may be all that is needed to improve a senior’s driving.

However, there are certain signs that may indicate that it’s time to have a discussion about your loved one’s driving safety.

Five signs that it’s time to discuss your parent’s driving

  1. Your parent confuses the brake and the accelerator – If leg strength is waning, your loved one might use their whole leg to operate pedals instead of using their foot to switch between brake and accelerator.
  2. Your parent misses stop signs and other traffic signals – T Your parent may be confused by all the activity or have a visual impairment that prevents seeing road signs.
  3. Your parent weaves in traffic or straddles lanes – Not using turn signals or failing to check mirrors is dangerous. Not being able to maintain a straight line or having trouble seeing the lines could result in an accident.
  4. Your parent honks or passes frequently – A senior who can’t handle fast-changing conditions may start laying on the horn or passing, even when traffic is flowing slowly.
  5. Your parent is getting confused with directions, even in familiar surroundings – This may be an indication of memory or cognitive problems that need to be identified and addressed.

Initiating a conversation about driving with your parent may be difficult – but it’s often necessary. Having an open, honest discussion may help prevent accidents and injuries – both in themselves and others.