How to Address Limiting Your Loved One’s Time Behind the Wheel
Driving possesses a sense of freedom. As we age, certain reflexes and senses can diminish which can lead to unsafe driving conditions. For many seniors, the freedom to go anywhere, at any time, can be a scary thing to give up. Below are tips for how to address limiting your loved one’s time behind the wheel.
Preventative Steps and Boundaries
Once your loved one turns 65, this does not mean they need to immediately surrender their license. However, it is a good time to evaluate skills and abilities to make the road safer for all. It is important to reiterate safety when addressing limiting time behind the wheel. If your loved one is struggling with the idea of sacrificing the freedom driving provides, remind them it is better to be prepared than to wait until it is too late.
1. Get Frequent Health Exams
Getting your loved one’s vision and hearing checked is an important first step when thinking about driving abilities. This could be simply updating their prescription. Additionally, an exam could help identify vision or hearing difficulties to give you insight into their driving capabilities.
2. Check Side Effects of Medication
Certain medications can cause drowsiness, dizziness, blurry vision, or other symptoms which could affect your loved one’s driving. Knowing the side effects of your loved one’s medications and how they interact with each other can help dictate timeframes where driving may be less safe. With VerifyCare, you can view a medication’s drug facts right through the app!
3. Check Your State’s Regulations for Older Drivers
Each state has differing requirements for elderly drivers and license renewals. View an overview of driving regulations in each state or check out your states local DMV site for specifics.
4. Plan Routes Ahead of Time
It will be easier for your loved one to know what to expect if they know where they are going. Map out the route ahead of time to identify points of heavy traffic or other potential obstacles so they are prepared.
5. Carpooling and Safe Driving Times
Driving at night increases the risk of accidents due to limited vision. To prevent accidents, encourage your loved one to only drive during daylight. Splitting the driving time can be beneficial for both you and your loved one. Try setting up a system allowing your loved one to drive to the destination. Then, you can take the wheel on the way back. The VerifyCare Calendar Module allows you to easily share events or appointment times with family members so you can organize your schedules. You can even save locations for events or appointments to easily bring up your destination when carpooling.
6. Utilize Ride-Share and Delivery Services
There are many transportation services for seniors to make traveling easier. Studies found ride-share services who offer telephone scheduling are more appealing to older adults than other services requiring virtual requests. Arranging delivery services for groceries or convenience items can also help reduce short, sporadic trips for your loved one. This will help reduce time on the road without limiting their needs.
It may be difficult for your loved one to comply with reducing or eliminating driving time. They might have a sense of pride they don’t want to sacrifice or may be in denial about unsafe driving habits.
1. Try a Ride Along
Try driving with your loved one to see if there are behaviors you can bring to their attention. If they often drive alone, then they may not be aware of their own habits.
2. Encourage Driving Assessments
It may have been some time since your loved one first took their driving test. Encourage your loved one to take a driving assessment so they can legally prove their abilities. Additionally, there are driving lessons for seniors to brush up on their driving skills.
3. Contact Your Local DMV
If you are concerned for the safety of your loved one or others, contact your local DMV to take action.