However, the senior citizen who is driving may not share your opinion. This person may believe you are trying to control their life for them and will likely think they are perfectly capable of making their own decision regarding driving. If you know that this same person cannot drive well enough to operate a vehicle, but the senior citizen is not willing to admit it or stop driving, this is where you will need to step in. Doing so can be very difficult and stressful for both parties involved.
A senior citizen who has their keys taken away in order to stop driving may be trying to hold onto their independence. As people age, some tend to fear that they will not be able to take care of themselves. In their eyes, if they cannot drive, this may look as though they are no longer capable of caring for themselves. That thought is difficult to face for any adult. For senior citizen drivers, it can sometimes be worse because they may view this as a sign of old age, which some don't like to face.
According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, many cities around the U.S. are doing things to help make driving safer so that senior citizens who are still driving don't always have to get the keys taken away. In Troy, Mich., for instance, crash instances for senior citizen drivers were reduced by 42 percent when clearance intervals for yellow and red signals were modified. Interventions like this, and other traffic safety changes, could keep some senior citizen drivers on the road longer.
Unfortunately, there are still cases in which allowing your beloved senior citizen to keep driving is not always possible. If you or a loved one has to face this difficult driving decision, think about safety first. If a person cannot see properly or there are other factors that make it difficult to drive, driving is not safe for this senior citizen or other drivers or pedestrians. Know when taking the keys is appropriate and necessary by observing his or her driving habits. That said, taking the keys is sometimes easier said than done. Aside from the fact that the senior citizen driver may be attempting to hold onto their independence, there are other reasons one may not want to stop driving. A person does not always want to admit they cannot do something or, at times, may not even realize it.
Driving is something people spend a good portion of their lives doing. When they can no longer do it as well as they once could, they may not even realize it. In this case, there are services, such as the one offered at AAA in California, for taking a senior citizen to have their driving capabilities tested. This is more than just a standard driver test. These kind of services will test coordination, eyesight, reaction time and other factors that often contribute to poor driving by senior citizens.
Some people actually prefer to have a middleman, such as a driving coach or someone from the Department of Motor Vehicles, perform the task of taking away the keys from the senior citizen driver. It may be better received from a knowledgeable source, and it takes the blame away from the loved one. Another option to consider is having a family meeting where everyone states their feelings. Hearing it from more than one close relative can be more convincing than just one person's thoughts.
More On Senior Driving:
U.S. Department of Transportation, Federal Highway Administration
National Transportation Library
*I originally published this via Yahoo Contributor Network