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Aging doesn’t have to mean the end of driving

Posted on Tuesday, December 1, 2020 at 3:13 pm

Getting older does not necessarily mean a person’s driving days are over. But it’s important to plan ahead and take steps to ensure the safety of your loved ones on the road. If they are no longer able to drive safely, you can guide them toward transportation options that meet their mobility needs.

The Missouri Coalition for Roadway Safety will run an awareness campaign Dec. 7-11 to remind road users about safely driving at an older age.

“Talking to an aging parent about safety on the road is no simple task,” said Jon Nelson, executive coalition chair. “Thankfully there are steps you can take to preserve their mobility, while looking out for everyone’s best interest on the road,” he said.

If you think you need to have a conversation with an older driver about his or her driving abilities, remember that many older drivers look at driving as a form of independence. Bringing up the subject of their driving abilities can make some drivers defensive. So be prepared with your observations and questions and suggest alternative transportation options if necessary.

Answering the following questions may help you decide if you need to initiate a conversation with an older driver about driving safely:

  • Are they getting lost on routes that should be familiar?
  • Have you noticed new dents or scratches on the vehicle?
  • Have they received a ticket for a driving violation?
  • Have they experienced a near-miss or crash recently?
  • Have they been advised to limit/stop driving due to a health reason?
  • Are they overwhelmed by road signs and markings while driving?
  • Are they taking any medication that might affect driving?
  • Have they received a ticket for impaired driving?
  • Have you noticed them speeding or driving too slowly for no reason?
  • Are they suffering from any illnesses that may affect driving skills?

If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, be prepared to take steps appropriate to the situation, which might include talking with your loved one about safe driving and/or ceasing driving.