Driving is a privilege, one that many of us don’t pay a lot of mind to until something changes. If you have noticed that your loved one can’t drive as well as they used to, you might be concerned. Whether your parent has made a couple of minor mistakes or they’ve become a significant risk on the road, you’re likely thinking about how to ask them to turn in their keys.
Let’s explore a few tips.
Signs Your Loved One Should Stop Driving
Just because your loved one has gotten older does not mean that he or she should automatically have to stop driving. Plenty of seniors maintain their ability to drive until far later in their lives. However, if you notice one or more of these signs, you can reasonably assume that it might be time for your loved one to stop driving.
- Your loved one is having a difficult time seeing the road, road signs, and other environmental elements.
- You notice new dents or scrapes on your loved one’s car.
- Your loved one is exhibiting more lackluster driving skills than they used to have.
- You notice that your loved one is experiencing more stress or confusion when driving or getting ready to drive.
- Your loved one has started to avoid driving.
- Other passengers are noticing the changes in your loved one’s driving.
- He or she has become frightening to drive with.
- Tips for Approaching the Topic
- Your parent or senior loved one is an adult, and unless you’ve become their legal guardian, you cannot exactly “tell” them to stop driving. Plus, making demands very rarely generates the results you want, and instead, it makes the other person feel patronized.
Take these steps if you want to talk about your concerns without coming off as rude or hyperbolic.
Quietly Record Your Observations
Don’t confront your loved one right away when they make a driving mistake. Instead, make a note of the date, time, and incident. Collect each incident you witness so that you have evidence to present when you bring up the topic of driving.
When you talk about your concerns, keep the conversation respectful. Talk to your loved one about why you’re bringing the subject up. Avoid making accusations or making him/her feel bad on purpose. Instead, let them know that it’s completely normal for one’s reflexes to change. Tell the individual that you’re worried about his or her safety when they drive and explain that you’re trying to look out for them.
Much of the time, seniors don’t want to give up on driving because they don’t want to depend on other people to transport them around. After all, they’ve been transporting themselves to and from wherever they need to go for decades. It’s hard to make a change that affects their lives so much.
Try presenting your parent with other avenues they can try when they need to go somewhere. For example, instead of driving themselves, you might suggest on-demand ridesharing like Uber or Lyft, calling a cab, getting your loved one a bus pass, seeking volunteer drivers, having family and friends help out, or trying out transportation programs designed for seniors.
Your parent or loved one might not respond very well to this conversation, and that’s normal. Give them space and don’t force the issue right away. Bring it up again later, and if you can, have another loved one there to add validity to your concerns.