When is the right time to take the car keys from your loved one?
Driving a car can feel like second nature, but as we age that feeling turns into uncertainty.
Aging affects eyesight, reflexes and overall safety while driving.
The decision to take car keys away from an aging family member or friend is an emotional one but having those hard conversations earlier and paying attention to any decrease in capability will make things easier and keep those loved ones safe.
Watch for these signs
It's time to start asking questions. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) recommends finding out whether your parent is:
- Having accidents or close calls
- Getting lost on familiar routes
- Getting tickets or violations
- Having difficulty reading or recognizing road signs, hearing emergency sirens or people honking
Changes in health or demeanor could also be risk factors. A mental or physical decline can cause a driver to lose focus or control of the vehicle. The state of Oklahoma has specific driving guidelines for aging drivers. Refer to these guidelines for medically at-risk drivers.
Consider riding along with the aging driver and assess their driving yourself. The driver's primary care physician will also be a great resource for more information and may even give a professional opinion.
Aging drivers can have a difficult time handing over their keys. After all, driving means independence, and giving up driving means walking away from a lot of freedom. Once the decision has been made to take away the car keys, be sure to explain the concern for their safety and the safety of others is the driving factor. For more insight on the matter, click here.