Switch to ADA Accessible Theme
Close Menu
Virginia Beach Estate Planning Lawyer / Blog / Driving / Tips for Handling Dangerous Drivers

Tips for Handling Dangerous Drivers

Understandably, many seniors are reluctant to give up the independence that comes with being a licensed driver. However, when an elderly person has dementia, diminished eyesight, or another condition that impairs his ability to drive, their activities on the road can be dangerous – and even deadly – for themselves and others. Below are some tips for how to handle dangerous drivers without making them feel like they are losing their independence:

1) Have a family meeting to discuss your concerns with your parent.

If you and your siblings have noticed that Mom’s car has dents and scratches, she’s been in two or more traffic accidents in the past year, or passengers who have ridden with her are expressing concern about her driving abilities, if may be time to schedule a family meeting. Many seniors who are unwilling to admit that they have a driving problem will be more receptive to gentle, loving family discussions than they will be to a one-on-one conversation about their driving habits.

2) Schedule a DMV driver’s test for your parent.

If a family meeting isn’t possible or is too confrontational for your parent, you can schedule a driver’s test at your local DMV. If Dad fails the test and his license is revoked, you will not look like the “bad guy” because you were not the one who took his driving privileges away. The results of this test may also help your parent recognize that he truly has difficulty driving.

3) Give specific examples of unsafe driving incidents.

When speaking to Mom about your concerns, it is important to avoid generalizations, such as, “you just can’t drive safely anymore.” Instead, try reminding her of specific times when she exhibited dangerous behaviors, like, “remember when you scraped that car while backing out of the parking spot?” or “you didn’t see the light turn red back there and we were almost hit by a car.” These specific examples may help your parent realize that she is having difficulty driving.

4) Suggest alternatives to driving.

If your parent has had his license for 50 years or more, the thought of giving up his independence can be frightening. Try to offer him alternatives to driving, such as public transportation. If your or other family members have an afternoon or weekend off, offer to drive dad to the places he likes to go. Not only will he feel less trapped in his home, but it will be a good opportunity for family members to spend quality time with him.

5) Most importantly, be respectful.

Although your parent may be experiencing changes that make her less competent to drive, she still remains a unique and independent individual. Try to approach the discussion about driving in a respectful way – not only will she respond more easily to your reasoning, but she will not feel threatened or demeaned by the idea of no longer having her license.

Facebook Twitter LinkedIn