Clues That Your Elderly Loved One Shouldn't Be Behind The Wheel

There comes a point in each of our lives where we must stop doing things we love simply due to our age.  Driving is one of those things that even if you do not love doing it, if you live long enough, you are likely going to have to give it up.  Most of us have elderly relatives, but we may not be sure when is the time you should have "the hang up your keys talk" with them.  This talk is so important due to the dangers elderly drivers posed.  Yesterday an elderly driver killed her elderly passenger in aparking lot crash!   

These incidents are happening far too often and it is because we do not realize or loved ones are unsafe, or we don't take the necessary steps to get them off the road.  Below are some clues from the National Institute on Aging that may help you recognize when you should take steps to get an elderly driver off the road. 

1)  Look for Evidence of Multiple Crashes or near misses:  Even minor crashes that occur in parking lots should be concerning.  If you notice your elderly loved one's vehicle has dents and scratches then that should be an indication they are hitting things and maybe they shouldn't be on the road.   If the elderly driver is constantly mentioning a near miss with another vehicle, that may be an indicator that they are having issues safely driving.

2) You Hear Comments from Others:  Many people will joke about their experiences with their elderly driving relative, friend, or neighbor.  However, many of these comments or jokes are grounded in truth.  If you hear these comments then ask more questions to determine the facts surrounding them.  If you confirm there is an issue you should have the talk about whether or not the elderly driver should continue driving.

3) The Elderly Driver Quits Driving At Night:   Quitting driving at night may be a good first step.  However, this may be the symptom of a larger issue.  You should ask why the elderly driver quit driving at night and have a medical professional evaluate the person to ensure they are safe to drive during the day.

4) Health Issues That Affect Driving:  If your elderly friend or loved one is having issues remembering things, or can't move quickly then that may be an indicator they shouldn't be driving.   Driving is a complex task that requires a person to physically and mentally be involved at all times.  If there is a medical issue that substantially impairs either their mental or physical abilities then the elderly person should probably not be driving.

5Complaints that Others Are Driving Too Fast:  Many elderly drivers stay off the highway if they can.  They may also complain other drivers drive too fast or change lanes abruptly.  This should be a clue the elderly driver does not feel comfortable on the road.  We have all seen the elderly driver that is going 50 MPH in a 65 MPH zone.  That is most likely because that is the speed they feel comfortable at.  However, that is an issue, because they should feel comfortable at driving all speeds, including the posted 65 MPH.  This may be a reason to talk to the driver about whether or not they feel safe driving on the road.  If not, then they should most likely hang up the keys. 

If you need more information regarding elderly drivers click here.  Please consult with a medical professional or the DMV if you have questions regarding whether it is safe for your elderly friend or loved one to be on the road.   Please do not rely solely on this post.  However, feel free to call Portland Oregon personal injury attorney Jeremiah Ross at 503.224.1658 if you have additional questions.   If you or someone you know has been injured by an elderly driver call Ross Law LLC at 503.224.1658.  This Post may be considered attorney advertising.