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Talking to Older Drivers About Safe Driving

By Aline Miranda on October 11, 2014

Last week a 91 year old driver struck and killed a woman on Girard Ave in La Jolla. The elderly driver was backing out of a parking spot and never saw that she backed into the woman, pinning her between the moving vehicle and a parked car. The woman died on the way to the hospital.

Getting older is a fact of life for all of us. With age, we gain experience (hopefully) but some of our abilities also may start to fade. Getting older does not have to mean a person’s driving days are over, but it is important to take steps to ensure the safety of everyone on the road. When is the right time to talk to your loved one about his/her driving?

Most of us — older drivers included — look at driving as a form of independence. Bringing up the subject of declining driving abilities can make some older drivers defensive. The answers to these questions may help you decide if you need to talk to an older driver about driving safely:

  • Getting lost on routes that should be familiar?
  • Noticing new dents or scratches to the vehicle?
  • Receiving a ticket for a driving violation?
  • Experiencing a near miss or crash recently?
  • Being advised by doctors to limit/stop driving due to a health reason?
  • Confused or overwhelmed by road signs and markings while driving?
  • Taking any medication that might affect driving safely?
  • Speeding or driving too slowly for no reason?
  • Suffering from any illnesses that may affect driving skills?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, you may need to talk with an older driver about safe driving. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has some useful materials:

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