Should you take the car keys away from your parent?

On Behalf of | May 24, 2022 | Motor Vehicle Accidents |

Road dangers have spiked in Virginia, with WTOP News reporting a 14-year high in traffic deaths in 2021. Drivers over 65 experienced a 15.1% increase in road fatalities compared to 2020.

While aging parents hate losing their independence, they want a long, healthy life. Families should review these points when considering limiting or restricting a senior parent’s driving.

Signs of unsafe driving

If a parent starts having more traffic tickets or minor accidents than usual, the family may suspect that the parent’s driving skills are deteriorating. Concerned adult children should inspect the parent’s vehicle for random dings and scratches.

A family member can make it a custom to start riding with the parent regularly. Passengers can look out for these dangerous behaviors:

  • Getting lost in familiar locations
  • Having near misses with other objects
  • Confusing the gas and brake pedals
  • Stopping in the middle of intersections
  • Running stop signs or red lights
  • Changing lanes without looking

Steps to help a parent stop driving

Family and friends should try to reason compassionately with a struggling older driver. Tactful attention to unsafe patterns can encourage some seniors to limit themselves for safety’s sake.

Since some older folks may refuse to give up their keys, a person can report an at-risk driver to the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles for a medical review. The review could require a written and road skills test. Drivers may also have to provide a doctor’s vision or medical statement. The DMV can require regular medical or vision reports for the person to keep their license or restrict or suspend driving privileges, if necessary.

The conversation about limiting a parent’s driving can be difficult, but by helping older parents stay safe on the road, mature individuals can enjoy a safer and more fulfilling life.