Can You be Too Old to Drive?
Families of older drivers are concerned about their elderly family members taking to the road when they have reached a certain age or medical conditions become too severe. When we reach a certain age, medical conditions can prevent us from being able to drive as well as we once did. Statistics have shown that elderly drivers account for about 20 percent of motorists, and that number is growing. With this rising number of elderly drivers taking to the road, it is important to consider if they will be able to handle driving in all weather conditions, altering medical restrictions, and other factors. This is a time for family members to consider if their loved ones are putting themselves or others at risk of a car accident.
Are Elderly Drivers Putting Themselves and Others at Risk?
Accidents that are related to elderly drivers usually consist of them failing to heed signs and signals from decreasing health conditions. These health conditions are normally focused on a lack of hearing and vision issues. With old age comes complications when vision and response times diminish. This is not a condition that will improve with medications or medical assistance, and it is important that the driver and their loved ones are aware of this. Another issue that comes with driving risks is the side effects of medications that suggest dangers with driving or operating a vehicle. Doctors will notify their patients if there are risks with driving while on certain medications, but that may just be the beginning of considering that your loved one may have reached a point at which they are no longer able to drive. Drivers who have medical conditions in which a stroke, seizure, drowsiness, or any medication side effect may raise concerns while driving is enough to deem that person unsuitable to drive.
What are Alternatives for People Who are No Longer Able to Drive?
It is important to recognize mobility needs for the elderly; just because they have been unable to drive because of age or health conditions does not mean they do not need to get around anymore. Despite their limiting condition, elderly citizens are still in need of getting to doctors’ appointments, church services, family and friends, pharmacies or grocery stores, and any other medical needs such as physical therapy. Some alternatives to consider are car services, delivery services for food and medications, and rides from loved ones. Although it may seem a little more difficult to arrange rides from loved ones or organizing car services, it is the safest and most realistic alternative. The delivery of any basics such as food and medication eliminates the need for your loved ones to leave their home, but these deliveries also ensure they will be getting their necessities.
How Should Families Approach This Conversation with Their Elderly Loved Ones?
When it comes to a sensitive subject such as this, family members usually initiate the conversation before bringing up the topic with a doctor. It is important to approach this conversation with care and calming words. It will be helpful to stress that you do not want to take their freedom or independence when it comes to driving, but maybe considering other options and services could be more useful. By speaking in a very calm manner, it may aid you loved one to consider the possibility of giving up driving. If they do not agree and do not want to talk about the matter, it may be time to notify their doctor and have them speak with your loved one.
What are Some Signs to Look Out for in Elderly Loved Ones?
Every older driver is different, but the following signs can indicate that the elderly motorist should hand over the keys and stop driving:
- Decrease in confidence
- Can no longer see while driving
- Easily distracted
- Running into curb or other objects
- Easily agitated or angry
- Driving at an inappropriate speed or wrong lane
- Getting into frequent fender-benders or accidents
- Does not abide by street signs or traffic signals
These signs depict changes and instances in which elderly people should consider limiting their driving or stopping altogether. A serious concern for loved ones to consider is when elderly drivers no longer abide by the street signs or signals because they are in a rush or are unable to recognize them. When someone can no longer see when driving, there is a risk they could hit an object, another car, an animal, or a person walking. A decrease in confidence can also cause someone to not pay attention and be distracted while driving, which can lead to an accident. Another factor to consider when someone experiences a decrease in confidence is a sudden spurt of anger. When not secure while driving, an elderly person can become agitated and angry to a point at which they are not competent to drive. This can also lead to driving at inappropriate speeds when suddenly angry on the road. The risk of driving at greater or slower speeds can mean you are more likely to get into an accident or fender-bender.
Washington DC Car Accident Lawyers at the Law Offices of Duane O. King Help Victims of Accidents Caused by Elderly Drivers
It is difficult for a family to tell their loved one that they have reached the point at which they should no longer drive. If you have been injured in a car accident involving an elderly driver, the Washington DC car accident lawyers at the Law Offices of Duane O. King are here to help. They will investigate the circumstances of the accident and help you obtain the compensation you deserve. Call us at 202-331-1963 or contact us online for a free consultation. Located in Washington, DC, we work with car accident victims in Prince George’s County, including Laurel, Beltsville, Adelphi, College Park, Greenbelt, Mitchellville, Woodmore, Greater Upper Marlboro, Springdale, Largo, Bowie, Capitol Heights, District Heights, Forestville, Suitland, and Seat Pleasant, Clinton, Oxon Hill, Temple Hills, and Fort Washington.