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Warning Signs of Unsafe Driving

Can you tell if someone is no longer safe to drive?

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Do you know anyone who has problems driving or who has stopped driving? What led you to think that he or she had a problem driving?

See also: Brain health and driving

The following warning signs can indicate a physical and/or memory problem that is beginning to affect someone’s driving abilities.

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Physical Capabilities

  • Not being able to see or hear what is going on outside the car
  • Trouble moving foot from gas pedal to brake pedal
  • Difficulty turning head when backing up
  • Delayed responses to unexpected situations

Cognitive Capabilities

  • Decrease in confidence while driving
  • Needs someone else to tell him or her how to drive
  • Getting lost in familiar places
  • Becoming easily distracted while driving
  • Getting confused at intersections, entrance or exit ramps, or roundabouts
  • Inability to adapt to new situations
  • Failing to recognize dangerous situations

Poor Driving Skills

  • Not using turn signals correctly or not using them at all
  • Having trouble making turns
  • Having difficulty moving into or maintaining the correct lane of traffic
  • Having trouble judging the space between vehicles in traffic on highway entrance or exit ramps
  • Parking inappropriately
  • Hitting curbs when making right turns or backing up
  • Unpredictable stopping in traffic
  • Driving too slowly; other drivers often honk horns
  • Failing to stop at stop signs or stoplights
  • Failing to notice important activity on the side of the road

Undesirable Behaviors

  • Driving too fast or too slow for road conditions
  • Becoming more agitated or irritated when driving
  • Distracted driving
  • Impaired driving
  • Not following doctor’s guidance
  • Evidence of warning signs
  • Getting scrapes or dents on car, garage or mailbox
  • Having frequent close calls
  • Being warned or ticketed for moving violations
  • Having multiple vehicle crashes

External Advice

  • Doctors or pharmacists have advised him or her that certain medications may affect the capacity to drive
  • Friends, relatives, doctors or other trusted sources have suggested that driving be limited or that driving ceased

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