Aging looks different for everyone. While some people may be able to drive safely well into their later years with no trouble at all, it’s important to keep an eye out for signs that you should talk with your loved ones about their safety behind the wheel.
Changes in health—including changes in vision, hearing, mobility and memory—can alter someone’s ability to operate a vehicle safely. Older drivers might be reluctant to admit to a friend or a family member that they’re having trouble, so keep an eye on their driving skills, and any changes in their driving or the state of their car.
If you see new dents and scrapes on their vehicle, notice they have more anxiety about driving, or know they have received several traffic tickets or complaints, be sure to raise your concerns. Remain positive and supportive. If you decide together that it would be best for them to quit driving, be sure to continue to help them as they begin to navigate the world and evaluate their independence without the freedom to drive themselves around town.
If you are concerned about your own driving, be sure to talk with your doctor about changes in your health that might affect your safety. If you become concerned about a family member or a friend, start an open conversation. Approaching the issue from a perspective of concern for their safety is a helpful way to begin an open dialogue and avoid confrontation.
Here’s a helpful graphic from the National Institute on Aging to help you navigate the conversation with a loved one: