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Talking about driving with an older driver

Dec 2017 Older Driver Safety Awareness photoWinter driving may bring up added safety concerns. Click here for wintertime safe driving tips from the AARP. Photo by Giovanni Moschini on Unsplash.Getting older doesn’t necessarily mean a person’s driving days are over. But it’s important to plan ahead and take steps to ensure the safety of your loved ones on the road.

If you think you need to have a conversation with an older driver about his or her driving abilities, remember that many older drivers look at driving as a form of independence. Bringing up the subject of their driving abilities can make some drivers defensive. Be prepared with your observations and questions, and – if necessary - provide possible transportation alternatives.

Answering the following questions may help you decide if you need to initiate a conversation with an older driver about driving safely:

  • Does he or she get lost on routes that should be familiar?
  • Have you noticed new dents, scratches, or other damage to his or her vehicle?
  • Has he or she received a ticket for a driving violation?
  • Has he or she experienced a near miss or crash recently?
  • Has his or her doctor advised him or her to limit or stop driving due to a health reason?
  • Is he or she overwhelmed by signs, signals, road markings, and everything else he or she needs to focus on when driving?
  • Does he or she take any medication that might affect his or her capacity to drive safely?
  • Does he or she stop inappropriately and/or speed or drive too slowly, preventing the safe flow of traffic?
  • Does he or she suffer from Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, glaucoma, cataracts, arthritis, Parkinson’s disease, diabetes, or other illnesses that may affect his or her driving skills?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, you might need to talk about driving with an older driver!

This article is reprinted from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Click here for additional resources for older driver safety.