Driving Assessment Checklist
If you are unsure about your loved one’s ability to drive, this checklist can help.
To view the checklist, “Click Here”.
Asking an elderly parent or relative to stop driving is difficult, because driving provides individuals with the ability to remain independent. Yet, many elderly drivers are a danger to themselves and others on the road. It’s important, therefore, that the family, friends, and other caregivers of these individuals be able to identify potential driving problems and to request that the person stop any dangerous driving behavior.
For some individuals, this may be as simple as driving only on certain kinds of roads (e.g., no highways) or driving only during daylight hours. For more dangerous drivers, however, it is important that the individual stop driving altogether, and find other transportation options that will provide him or her with continued independence. If your loved one’s driving worries you—or if you are unsure whether your loved one should continue to drive—you will probably want to perform a specific assessment before talking to him or her about the problem. Click on the link below to view the assessment, feel free to print as many copies as you like. “Click Here”
As much as older drivers would like to believe otherwise, driving skills do decline with age. But are older drivers unsafe?
Seniors tend to get defensive … even angry … whenever the subject of their driving abilities is raised. Driving is an emotional hot button because it represents freedom and independence. It gives them the ability to visit friends, go to the movies, shop, see the sights and more … whenever they want to go, without having to rely on anyone else.
Here are a few warning signs to look for when deciding whether your loved one should alter their driving habits, or stop driving altogether.
- Drives at inappropriate speeds … too fast, too slow, or speeds up and slows down repeatedly for no reason.
- Asks passengers for help to check if it is clear to pass or turn.
- Reacts slowly or doesn’t notice pedestrians, bicyclists and other drivers.
- Doesn’t see or ignores street signs and traffic lights.
- Doesn’t yield to other cars or pedestrians who have the right-of-way.
- Can’t correctly judge distances between cars.
- Becomes easily frustrated or angry with other drivers.
- Is drowsy, confused or frightened when driving.
- Has had one or more near accidents in the last year.
- Drifts across lanes or bumps into curbs.
- Forgets to turn on headlights after dusk.
- Has difficulty with glare from oncoming headlights, streetlights, or other bright or shiny objects, especially at dawn, dusk and at night.
- Has difficulty turning head, neck, shoulders or body while driving or parking.
- Ignores signs of mechanical problems, including under-inflated tires.
- Lacks the strength or flexibility to turn the steering wheel quickly in an emergency.
- Gets lost repeatedly, even in familiar areas.
If your loved one shows any of these warning signs, are medical issues affecting their driving abilities?
- Have they recently (in the past year) had their vision and hearing tested?
- Have they had a physical examination in the past year? (Medicare doesn’t pay for most physical exams. As a result, many seniors can’t afford to pay for one out of their own pocket.)
- Do they take medications that make them drowsy or confused when driving?
- Is it difficult for them to climb a flight of stairs or walk more than one block?
- Have they fallen one or more times in the past year ( not including trips or stumbles)?
- Has a doctor told them they should stop driving?
If it’s obvious that your loved one can’t drive safely, you must get them to stop driving. If they agree without an argument, wonderful. If not, you have several options.
- Contact the Department of Motor Vehicles in the state where they live. They may do nothing more than send a letter, but that might help convince them to stop driving.
- Stage an intervention. In this technique, you confront your loved one as a group of concerned friends and caregivers. The group should include family members, health care workers and anyone else respected by your loved one. The intervention should be handled firmly, but compassionately, to break through your senior’s denial of the issue.
- Talk to the local police department where they live. Then, IF the police agree, take the keys or disable the car by leaving the headlights on all night or disconnecting the battery. But if your loved one is likely to call AAA or a mechanic, you have no choice but to move it to a location beyond your loved one’s control. Once again, make sure the local police agree to your doing so. Your loved one may very well call them to report their missing car as stolen.
Approved In Home Care, provides non-medical care and support for seniors. We provide compassionate care and assistance in a private residence, hospital, rehab, assisted living, retirement home or healthcare facility. We offer packages including: dependable and affordable in-home assistance, care, companionship, homemaking, and errand services.
If you have any questions, please give us a call. Our direct number is (972) 658-4001.