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Should mom and dad be behind the wheel?

It can be tough to watch your parents age. As you become an adult yourself, you can relate to their struggles. Your mom and dad were the ones who raised you. They nurtured you and cared for you. They taught you some of your first skills. When you became a teenager, they taught you how to drive. These may be fond memories. Perhaps you laugh about them now as a family. Your mom and dad are your mentors. It can be tough to witness them struggle.

As your mom and dad age, you may worry about their abilities to do tasks that once were simple. One major task that might be worrisome is driving. Your mom’s eye sight isn’t what it used to be. Dad’s hearing seems to be getting worse. These aspects make you worry about their abilities to drive safe. According to the Prevention, nearly 40 million people over the age of 65 were licensed to drive in 2015. People over the age of 85 are at the highest risk for being involved in fatal crashes.

You can watch for indications that it might be time to take the keys from your parents.

  • Watch how they control their lane. Do they straddle the lines? Do they drift into the lane next to them? Do they make sudden lane changes?
  • Watch how observant they are. Do they miss road sings? Are they aware of pedestrians, fellow motorists and other objects?
  • Watch their speed. Do they go severely under or above the speed limit? Do they have delayed reactions? Do they suddenly accelerate or stop?
  • Watch their demeanor. Do they seem increasingly nervous while driving? Do they become confused or disoriented with their directions? Do they have trouble turning to check blind-spots?
  • Watch over the condition of their vehicle. Are there new dents or scrapes? Are they going through tires quickly?

If you observe these behaviors then you may want to consider talking to your dad and mom about their driving privileges. You may encourage them to look into public transportation or other mobility options. You can provide them with resources for mature driving courses, enhanced safety tips and information on surrendering their license.

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