Car accidents: When should senior drivers quit driving?

In the lives of most people in British Columbia and other provinces and territories, driving is an important part of their independence. Unfortunately, as drivers age, there may come a time when they endanger their own lives and those of others in car accidents. However, compared to other age groups, the majority of senior drivers are likely the safest operators of vehicles on the roads because they are typically meticulous about wearing their seat belts, avoid driving in bad weather and after dark, observe speed limits, avoid busy intersections and drunk driving.

There are certain signs that family members could look out for that may indicate that it is time for that dreaded talk to convince an elderly loved one to hang up the car keys. There may be no need for concern if they are still healthy and manage to travel safely on familiar roads. Also, if their vision still allows them to see pedestrians, read and obey road signs, it may not be necessary to address the issue yet, unless they still choose to drive in poor weather conditions,

Frequents bouts of disorientation, confusion and forgetfulness could jeopardise their safety, as well as others. If an elderly loved one struggles to hear or follow verbal instructions, has trouble walking or with dizzy spells that have caused tripping and falling, driving may no longer be safe. The same goes for those who are short of breath or feel fatigued for most of the day, or if medication makes them drowsy.

Although legally, the decision to continue or to stop driving is one the driver has to make, a respectful conversation with workable solutions to get them where they need to be may convince them that it is time to rely on others. Unfortunately, not all senior drivers in British Columbia have loved ones who are able to take over the driving responsibilities, leaving them to put their lives on the line while driving. It may even lead to personal injury lawsuits if they are deemed responsible for car accidents in which others are injured.

Source: amfam.com, "Safer Driving for Seniors", Accessed on May 26, 2017

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