Driving Alternatives

Recently, 97-year-old Prince Philip of England was in a minor car crash. It
is believed that he was at fault.

He is fine and the other driver is recovering from some cuts and her passenger has a broken wrist. Needless to say, the Palace and Royal family have taken notice along with the rest of the world. We may not be as fortunate as Prince Philip who has many drivers and choices of transportation.

It is unclear whether he will be driving again. The Royal family, similar to yours may also be wondering whether their older parents or spouse is safe to drive.

When is it Time to Stop Driving?

When you can no longer drive safely, are a danger on the road and no one
wants their children to be a passenger with you. Warning signs include: driving too fast or too slow, ignores lights and signs, drifting into other lanes, getting lost often or confused and small dents, dings, and near misses.

This is a very difficult issue of aging, both for the elder and their loved
ones. In Florida, or other places where there is little public transportations
most people drive their own vehicle. Driving alternatives exist but it is a
huge emotional, psychological as well as a safety issues that families must deal with. Many Americans have a long-term relationship with driving. It is a pillar of a sense of independence. However, as aging affects our vision, response time, hearing, some coordination, and reflexes safety becomes a primary concern. The fatality rate of drivers 85 plus is nine times that for younger drivers aged 25 to 69. Add medications and illness or disease to the normal aspects of aging and you have a recipe for possible tragedy.

 Safety First and Foremost

If there is any question as to a person’s fitness to be behind the wheel, and especially as we get older, then a driving test should be completed. At the very least, taking a driving class ought to be done. Elderly adults drive less but experience more accidents per mile than younger drivers. You may also discuss how prescription medications affect driving with your physician. If what you are taking causes drowsiness or confusion, perhaps a different drug can be taken or you can postpone driving after taking the medication.

Present Alternatives to your Senior Driver

Since driving is a very touchy subject for all concerned, it must be broached with empathy, patience, understanding, and alternative solutions. The easiest things are to either hire a driver, use taxis and today, use Lyft or Uber. The latter also have ways for
older adults without smartphones to use their services.

Consider other assistance your parent may find useful. A home aide or companion can help with laundry, shopping, cooking and driving. Perhaps relocating to an Independent Senior Community which has transportation is an option. At the very least, a refresher
driving class through a local hospital, AARP, or local government office should
be negotiated to alleviate fears of adult children.

If your loved one refuses any and all driving alternatives then you can anonymously give a tip to the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles.