Seniors and Driving: Should We Be Assessing an Elderly Loved One’s Ability to Drive?

by mightymidnighty on June 30, 2013

As a society, we highly value our independence. We do not like to be beholden to anyone, whether it be for money, food, or even seemingly trivial favors like rides to and from work or home. However, as we get older, we stand to lose our independence little by little. While we can appreciate senior citizens’ desire to be independent and retain their ability to drive themselves to wherever they need to go, we also have to think about what is best for them and their safety.  At some point in our senior loved ones’ lives, we may need to think about whether or not to assess their ability to drive. We may know we have reached this point by taking into consideration several factors.

Observe Any Poor Eyesight and Hearing

We may have senior citizens in our families that have sharp wits and the ability to out-think anyone else in the room. Despite their ability to think quickly, however, these loved ones may no longer see or hear very well. These senses are crucial for safe driving. If a senior loved one no longer can see very far in front of him or her, or that person cannot hear well, it may be time to rethink that loved one’s ability to drive.

Note Frequent Wrecks or Getting Lost

When a senior citizen family member gets into repeated accidents, it can be in your family’s best interest to ask for that person’s license to be revoked. In this situation, it is good to retain the services of a competent lawyer such as a West Palm Beach car accident lawyer, to guide one through the complexities of personal injury law. This request can be especially vital if that driver is covered by your insurance policy. Your rates could skyrocket because of that driver’s frequent wrecks. Likewise, if your elderly loved one gets lost frequently or has problems remembering where he or she is driving to, it could benefit that person to surrender his or her license.

If your family member remains insistent on driving, you can take precautions to ensure his or her safety. These safety tips can protect that person when he or she gets behind the wheel of a car.

Buy a Cell Phone

Before letting your senior loved one drive, you should insist on that person carrying a cell phone in the car or in his or her purse or pocket. Even if the person does not answer the phone, its GPS function can be utilized by law enforcement if that person gets lost. Likewise, it can be used if that individual gets in an accident and cannot call 911.

Insist on Regular Medical Examinations

You can set boundaries for your senior’s ability to drive by insisting that he or she undergo regular medical examinations. You should also insist that this person take all of his or her medication as directed, use a hearing aide or wear prescription eyeglasses, and wear an identifying bracelet or necklace when driving. These precautions can keep that driver safe while out on the road.

Taking away a senior loved one’s license can be difficult. However, most of us will need to assess our elderly relatives’ ability to drive at some point in the future. This precautionary measure can protect our loved one and keep other drivers and pedestrians safe as well.

Midnight Walker enjoys writing about family issues, law and personal injury law. Steinger, Iscoe & Green, a West Palm Beach car accident lawyer, will fight to help those involved in a car accident whether they deserve to recover compensation from any losses or need advice getting back to normal. 

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