People tend to enjoy the freedom that driving gives them. Yet, aging can make driving difficult as our natural reflexes start slowing down. Behind the wheel, that can be dangerous. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), older drivers aged 65 and up across the country experience 700 crash-related injuries and 20 fatalities every day.
Statistics such as these beg the question: How old is too old to drive? This is a particularly hard question for the family members of senior drivers. They may feel that the time has come to take Mom or Dad’s keys away, but they might be hesitant to broach the subject. Fortunately, there are some warning signs that might make the decision easier for them.
Signs that it’s time to take an elderly driver’s keys away
Look for these signs when trying to evaluate whether or not your elderly loved one should still be driving:
- Drifting across or straddling lanes.
- Making sudden lane changes that cut off other drivers.
- Missing stop signs and traffic signals.
- Confusion while driving.
- Braking, stopping or accelerating abruptly without reason.
- Accelerating when they mean to brake.
- Difficulty seeing pedestrians, objects or other vehicles that are in plain sight.
- Driving much slower than the speed limit.
- Driving the wrong way against traffic.
- Getting lost in familiar places.
- Failing to signal or turning right when signaling a left turn.
- Increased close calls.
- Receipt of two or more traffic citations or warnings in the past two years.
- New dents and scrapes on their car or surrounding objects, such as fences or mailboxes.
Colorado’s Department of Motor Vehicles can re-evaluate your senior’s skills by administering both a written test and a “behind the wheel” test.
If you have been injured by an elderly driver, you may be entitled to seek reimbursement for your medical bills and damages.