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How can you help someone you love decide when to stop driving?

Written by Diane Archer

Getting older does not mean that you cannot continue driving.  But, the last thing you want is for people you love to hurt themselves or others.  As people age, they can lose mental and physical functions that enable them to drive safely.  The National Institute on Aging has several tips for helping people decide whether they should continue driving or rely on other forms of transportation.

Responsible driving depends upon good reflexes. And, good driving is often about making snap decisions. So, if people you love have trouble seeing, turning their head, climbing stairs, responding quickly, or confuse the brake and the gas pedals, those are signals that driving might put them and others at risk.  Similarly, if driving makes them anxious, stressed or tired, those could be indicators that it’s time for them to stop.

People who have trouble keeping up with the flow of traffic, seeing when cars are coming at them, making sense of the traffic signs on the road or staying in the proper lane should likely also not be driving.  They will know whether they are having problems if other drivers are honking at them, if they had minor accidents or have been pulled over by a traffic officer.

For sure, once people you love lose their vision, hearing, reflexes or have had a stroke or another serious condition, you should advise them to take a driving test every three years. If they continue to drive, encourage them to stay home in bad weather and, if possible, take alternate routes on quieter roads that are less stressful.  For more information, click here.


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