When should a senior stop driving

senior woman driving car

There are several things that change as everyone ages, some for the better and some for the worst. Two of the more unfortunate, however, are the loss of mobility and cognition. These can impact nearly all aspects of life, including someone’s ability to drive. So, is there a point when a senior should stop driving? 

It Depends

Not all seniors will need to stop operating a vehicle. However, those that see a loss of cognition and mobility should consider whether they pose a risk to themselves and other drivers. Various physical conditions also come into play. It’s not an easy process to give up the freedom that transportation provides, but approaching this problem in an honest and compassionate way is in everyone’s best interest. 

The Health Assessment

Vision, hearing, coordination, and reflexes should be checked by a medical professional. Since each are vital to driving, losing too much of any poses a serious risk. If a driver cannot meet the demands and hazards of the road, an accident is sure to happen sooner or later. 

This health assessment should also screen for certain conditions that impair the ability to operate a vehicle.  Those include:

  • Glaucoma
  • Alzheimer’s
  • Dementia
  • Parkinson’s
  • Cataracts
  • Severe arthritis
  • Diabetes
  • Seizures
  • And other chronic issues.

It’s also essential that you consider any medications taken. The doctor can help you understand which medications can impact the ability to drive as well as any physical and mental factors to be aware of. Always go over the side effects with a medical professional. 

Warning Signs

If the health assessment concludes that the senior is capable of driving or your loved one simply refuses to go, there are other warning signs to be aware of. These can also help you convince the senior that it is time to see their doctor and discuss issue. Warning signs include:

  • Inability to recognize right of way
  • Failure to yield and stop when required
  • Losing track of speed limits
  • Forgetting to signal when changing lanes
  • Inconsistent acceleration
  • Becoming lost in familiar areas
  • Difficulty merging or changing lanes
  • Frequent close calls with other vehicles
  • Difficulty recognizing the distance between their car and others
  • Increased road rage, anxiety, or stress

So called “mysterious” damages to their vehicle and frequent traffic violations are also warning signs. If your loved one is in trouble, then it’s vital that you hire legal representation who can fight on their behalf as a senior who may be losing their faculties. like these seasoned car accident lawyers in Costa Mesa

Having the Talk

Once you know that a senior is in no condition to drive, it’s time to have a difficult talk. Lead with compassion and understanding, and don’t make demands. You want them to know that the two of you have made the decision to surrender their keys and driver’s license together. 

Don’t make them feel like a nuisance or public hazard, either. Simply let them know that the natural progression of their health is impairing their ability to drive. You also need to make the transition easier by helping them with alternative transportation.