Should your Parent Drive?

Driving an automobile can give people independence. Giving up that independence can be a very tough thing to do. While driving can be wonderful, in the wrong hands it is very dangerous for oneself and others. Seniors typically don’t realize it’s time to stop driving without input or direction from others. It is for that reason it is commonly up to the adult children to decide when their parents should stop driving and rely on other transportation. There are several things to watch for when deciding whether someone should still be driving.


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Poor health is often a reason to not drive. General frailty may get in the way of driving safely. Frailty may prevent one from holding the steering wheel securely and lack of mobility may prevent one from turning in one’s seat easily enough for good visibility. One should not drive if they have dementia because of physical and cognitive symptoms.

Various medications can adversely affect your parent’s ability to drive. Some medications can make anyone drowsy or confused and the elderly may be more susceptible to those side effects. A person is more likely to have side effects from medication when taken in combination with other medications or alcohol. Consult with your parent’s doctor regarding driving and your parent’s medication regimen.

Sharp senses and good reflexes are vital to safe driving. Compromised senses and poor reflexes are accidents waiting to happen. Poor hearing can prevent your parents from being aware of horns, sirens, and other signals. Poor vision invites confusion and accidents whether they are with cars or pedestrians. Good reflexes prevent accidents. Poor reflexes mean your parents might not use brakes effectively or otherwise be able to avoid dangerous situations.

Above are several things to consider when thinking about whether your parent should still be driving or not. Think about them and think about them in relationship to your parent’s driving. Additionally, keep in mind common sense! Are you comfortable driving with your parent? Are you comfortable having them drive your children?

After careful consideration, you decide that your parent should no longer have the keys to the car. Your mother or father will still need to get around. Make a transportation plan. Schedule family members to help with transportation, contact a senior transportation service, check with religious institutions and elder services in their area to see what transportation options they may offer. Make sure that your parent can still socialize, run errands, and make it to appointments.