SAFETY AND SENIOR DRIVERS

Driving can be a tricky area when advanced age becomes a factor. On the one hand, our bodies naturally change over time, and these changes must be taken into consideration. On the other hand, studies have also proven that performance is a better indicator of driving ability than age. So how can you navigate your concern for senior drivers? Read over the list below, and decide what options may be best for your situation.

OPTIONS FOR SENIOR DRIVERS

Observe the driver Consider what first made you concerned about a senior driver, and whether it was a personal experience or word of mouth. Observe the driver over a period of time, both on and off the road. Examine the level of fitness or dependence they exhibit. Are they acting “normal” or has their behavior changed in some way?

Ask for opinions The easiest way to gauge the ability of a driver is to ask for the opinions of friends, family, and even a trusted medical professional. Would it be safe for this person to have passengers, especially children, in their vehicle? You can also consider asking for the personal opinion of the senior driver, and if they feel in control about driving.

Complete an assessment If worries about physical or mental health arise, suggest a health assessment. Eyesight, motor control, memory, and reaction times can all be tested. It is also beneficial to ask the person how they feel about driving. If they’re anxious, scared, or have otherwise negative feelings about driving, it may be time for a change.

Use available resources There are tons of resources available for senior drivers. AAA offers senior driving assessment tools, including quizzes and simulations. Area Agencies on Aging is a national list of transportation options. The Virginia GrandDriver program is a support and resource center for senior drivers. Do some research, and see what resources are best for you.

Report the driver If the driver is a danger to themselves or others, and no other options are viable, consider reporting the driver and taking their keys, if possible. Never attempt to engage a senior driver or any other vehicle on the road. For more immediate results, call the police. To begin an investigation, contact your local DMV and make a confidential report.

Safety on the road doesn’t have an age limit. Review this list of options and decide if a conversation about safety and senior drivers is appropriate, or if more serious actions need to be taken. Remember that drivers 75 and older must report to the DMV to have their license renewed. If you or a senior driver you know is involved in an accident, call the Brothers in Law at (757) 599-6050.

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