Caring for Older Drivers: Senior Driving Safety

Driving is one of the first ways we’re seen as adults. Before going inside a voting booth or taking that first legal drink, most of us have already driven. A fact that probably kept our parents up all night.

And as concerned as they were about us, we owe them the same level of care and consideration if the roles become reversed. Concern for their driving doesn’t always mean taking their keys away. Rather, it’s about opening the dialogue and finding a middle ground. Here are a few tips to keep in mind.

Go Along For the Ride

There’s no substitute for driving with your loved one. It’s one of the best ways to see how they control the vehicle and what you need to do to help.

Seeing the Road

Safe driving requires seeing the road properly – scanning for potential hazards and keeping an eye out for important signs. Night vision is sometimes affected by old age. Annual checkups to test vision are key.

Strength Limits

Because driving is a physically demanding activity, you may need to alter your parent’s habits. Maybe they love driving a manual transmission, but age has deteriorated their dexterity. If shifting and using a clutch is too taxing, propose they drive an automatic for comfort and convenience.

Diseases & Medication

If they suffer from serious ailments, make sure the car is stocked with everything they’d need in an emergency. Similarly, research their medication for side effects like drowsiness, disorientation or diminished motor skills that could affect driving.

Kick the Tires

The easiest and smartest thing you can do is check their car. Examine it closely to ensure there’s nothing that could pose major problems in the future. The biggest problem may not be how they’re driving, but what they’re driving.

So, if you feel worried, have an honest dialogue with them. It doesn’t mean taking the keys away for no reason. It’s often about compromise. Support could even mean lightening their load a little. When visiting, chauffeur them around when you can. They’ll appreciate the break.

Are you concerned about the driving of older relatives? Share your stories in the comment section below.

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