How will we know when it’s time he stops driving? – If you have concerns about your loved one’s ability to drive, please do not ignore the issue. It is better to address the topic now before a serious accident happens and changes the life of your loved one or another driver.
Although you may already feel that it is time to stop, you will know more if you take a ride in the passenger seat while he is driving.
Here are some warning signs to look for while you are in the vehicle together:
- Does he have a quick reaction time? Look for both mental reaction time in making decisions and physical reaction time with the brake pedal or steering.
- Did he take notice of the road signs, other cars, and pedestrians?
- Is he clear on where he is going? Or did he seem confused?
- Were his body movements smooth or jerky?
There may also be some health issues that are red flags.
Go along with your loved one to a doctor’s appointment. While you are there ask if there are any medical conditions that would affect driving. These may include:
- Vision issues including peripheral vision and the ability to see clearly in all levels of light
- Hearing problems
- Medication with side effects that impair vision, weaken a steady hand or cause drowsiness
Here are some other clues:
- Has he received traffic tickets?
- Is there damage to the car? Even small damage?
- Does he mention getting lost or seem confused when explaining how to get to a familiar place?
The decision to stop driving will take several conversations, not one. Speak to your loved ones with honor and respect. You cannot force him to stop driving, but you can lovingly share your concerns, ask questions, and listen to the answers.
Make him aware of the alternative transportation available to him. Friends and family can offer rides to clubs or meetings. Neighbors could bring him along to the grocery store. Fellow church members can pick him up on their way to church. Go with him on public transportation until he can navigate the system easily.
Community Care of the Northeast understands that losing the ability to drive complicates life. That is why we created the Wheels for Independence membership program. For a small annual fee, your loved one will be able to receive rides to doctor appointments, grocery stores, and other places to stay active and social.
Also, if you have a caring heart and willingness to serve, we would love to have you on our team of volunteer drivers.
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Editor’s Note: This is an updated version of an article published in 2017.