Driving is often an important part of your life. Losing the ability to drive, or having to limit where you drive, can mean losing your independence.
Studies have shown that the older the driver, the more they consider their driving skills to be safe. Unfortunately, self assurance alone is not the most efficient assessment. If you haven’t already, it’s time to start planning for the future mobility of yourself and your loved ones.
Hold discussions about driving plans before a crisis
A crisis may force a driving discussion to take place and may focus on ways to take away the car keys. Not enough discussions are focused on the driving behaviour itself, or the strategies that help avert potential road safety problems. Initiating the conversation is the difficult part.
Watch for warning signs
Observe their driving behaviours and look out for any signs of reduced ability.
- Missing crucial things like stop signs or red lights
- Problems seeing road signs or traffic signals
- Straying into other lanes
- Going too fast or too slow
- Performing jerky stops or starts
- Trouble parking or maneuvering in tight spaces
Accentuate the positive
While you may find instances in which your loved one is not driving safely, focus on what they're doing well. A simple trip around a town during the day may pose no hazards. Avoiding some situations may be easier to face than stopping completely.
Include them in all discussions
The motivation for change must come from them, both for their own safety and for your relationship, respecting their ability to direct their own lives.
Assess their driving skills and any problems uncovered
You can help to assess their current driving skills, or recommend a driving refresher session with an accredited driving instructor. We offer refresher lessons for drivers of all ages. Many senior drivers have found this useful, particularly if they are approaching the stage where they need to have their licence reviewed.
Help identify available transportation alternatives in their area that will allow them to engage in their usual routines – social activities, medical appointments, errands etc.
Download helping your parents stay mobile PDF (233KB) for more information.