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As We Age and Drive: Some Warning Signs

When is it time for your loved one to hang up the car keys? Usually, there are some clear warning signs that families don’t see or ignore. Not acknowledging these warning signs and taking action can result in tragedy for your loved one, and sometimes, for another unsuspecting driver or pedestrian. Here are some ways to assess someone whom may have some safe driving concerns and issues.

See Also: When Should You Take the Car Keys?

How do you approach a family member when age-related changes impact driving ability? How long should someone stay on the road?

Families nationwide are struggling with these sensitive issues. Suzanne LaFollette-Black, AARP-NC Associate State Director and a We Need to Talk/CARFIT national instructor on older driver safety, encourages families to talk openly with loved ones who about safe driving practices.

According to LaFollette-Black, these are top ten signs that it’s time to talk about limiting driving or handing over the keys:

1. Frequent “close calls” (i.e., near accidents)

2. Dents, scrapes, on the car or on fences, mailboxes, garage doors, curbs, etc.

3. Trouble judging gaps in traffic at intersections and on highway entrance/exit ramp

4. Other drivers honking at your loved one

5. Getting lost

6. Difficulty seeing the sides of the road when looking straight ahead

7. Slower response time; trouble moving foot from gas to brake pedal or confusing the two pedals

8. Getting distracted easily or having trouble concentrating

9. Difficulty turning his/her head to check over shoulder while backing up or changing lanes

10. Traffic tickets or “warnings” by traffic or law enforcement officers in the last year or two

Some solutions are recommending a safe driving class as offered through the AARP Driver Safety Program to assess and improve defensive driving techniques, techniques to handle driving situations such as inclement weather, left turns, blind spots and learn new traffic laws and rules of the road.

For more information on assessing and dealing with an aging family member’s ability to drive, please call 1-888-227-7669 or check out AARP Driver Safety.

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