At what point should you talk to a parent or another older loved one about reducing his or her driving, or even relinquishing the car keys altogether? The decision is a difficult one, and there’s no hard and fast rule. If you’re concerned about a loved one’s driving skills, the first thing to do is to observe that person’s driving over a period of time. Here are some warning signs to look for:
- New and unexplained scrapes or dents on the car
- Consistently driving too fast or too slow
- Difficulty making appropriate use of turn signals
- Delayed responses to traffic signals or the actions of other drivers
- Becoming easily distracted or easily frustrated while driving
- Car accidents or traffic tickets
- Mixing up the gas and brake pedals
- Trouble navigating turns
If your loved one is consistently experiencing difficulties with driving safely, it may very well be time to talk about handing over the keys. It can be one of those dreaded conversations, like having “The Talk” with your kids, and it will likely require some preparation.
One resource that might come in handy is We Need to Talk . It’s a free, three-part online seminar produced by AARP, and it lasts about 90 minutes. The seminar covers topics like assessing driving skills, talking about alternatives, and dealing with the emotions that come with the possibility of giving up driving.