As experienced drivers grow older, changes in their vision, attention and physical abilities may cause them to drive less safely than they used to.
Sometimes these changes happen so slowly that the drivers are not even aware that their driving safety is at risk.
If you have questions about a loved one's driving safety, here's what you can do to help him or her stay safe AND mobile.
Is your loved one a safe driver?
If you have the chance, go for a ride with your loved one. Look for the following warning signs in his or her driving:
- Forgets to buckle up
- Does not obey stop signs or traffic lights
- Fails to yield the right of way
- Drives too slowly or too quickly
- Often gets lost, even on familiar routes
- Stops at a green light or at the wrong time
- Doesn't seem to notice other cars, walkers, or bike riders on the road
- Doesn't stay in his or her lane
- Is honked at or passed often
- Reacts slowly to driving situations
- Makes poor driving decisions
Other signs of unsafe driving include:
- Recent near misses or fender benders
- Recent tickets for moving violations
- Comments from passengers about close calls, near misses, or the driver not seeing other vehicles
- Recent increase in the car insurance premium
Riding with or following this person every once in a while is one way to keep track of his or her driving. Another way is to talk to this person's spouse or friends.
If you are concerned about your loved one's driving, what can you do?
Talk to your loved one. Say that you are concerned about his or her driving safety.
Does he or she share your concern?
- Don't bring up your concerns in the car. It's dangerous to distract the driver! Wait until you have his or her full attention.
- Explain why you are concerned. Give specific reasons—for example, recent fender benders, getting lost, or running stop signs.
- Realize that your loved one may become upset or defensive. After all, driving is important for independence and self-esteem.
- If your loved one doesn't want to talk about driving at this time, bring it up again later. Your continued concern and support may help him or her feel more comfortable with this topic. Be a good listener. Take your loved one's concerns seriously.