Getting a driver’s license provides someone a substantial amount of independence. As long as they have a vehicle, they can go basically anywhere at any time, giving them more control over their lives.
Therefore, it can be hard to give it up.
However, there comes a time when many seniors may have to retire from driving for the safety of themselves, their families, and everyone else.
Of course, age alone doesn’t make your loved one an unsafe driver. It comes from a combination of cognitive decline, physical decline, and medical conditions they may experience as they age.
But with that in mind, here are some signs you may need to have this difficult conversation with your loved one.
1. Improper Speeds on Roads
One of the major signs that your senior loved one may not be safe behind the wheel anymore is improper speeds on the roads.
Usually, seniors can be known for going too far under the speed limit. This doesn’t just inconvenience other drivers. Slow drivers can block lanes or not get up to highway speeds — among other things — both of which can lead to accidents.
Some seniors may unknowingly drive too fast as well, though. The trouble this can cause is much more obvious.
In either case, persistently going the wrong speed is a sign you need to have this conversation.
2. Slow Responses to every day and Irregular Situations
Reaction time is critical to being a safe and polite driver. At best, poor reaction time can anger people behind the driver if they take too long to go through a green light.
At worst, it can lead to catastrophic accidents.
If you notice that your loved one takes an excessive amount of time to perform either regular driving tasks, like going at a green light, or unpredictable situations, such as sudden stops, it might be time for them to hang up the keys.
3. Frequent Vehicle Dings or Dents
You don’t need to drive with your loved one to see the signs. The vehicle itself can tell you.
If your loved one’s car frequently accumulates dings or dents, that indicates their reaction time may be too slow, leading them to these minor incidents. It’s best they hang up the keys before one of these small accidents turns tragic.
4. Difficulty Maintaining or Changing Lanes
Making lane changes safely and staying in your lane is obviously both key to safe driving. Failure to do these is hazardous.
If you notice your loved one can’t do either of these — such as they’re drifting out of their lane — their ability to concentrate may have decreased. In that case, it’s time to stop driving.
These are just some of the signs it’s time for your loved one to retire from driving. Overall, if they can’t focus on the road and react to situations, they pose a danger to themselves and other motorists.
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