ARTICLES / General /
Driving: When Aging Illness... /
By Sandra Ray, Staff Writer
There are several questions caregivers
can ask when looking at whether or not it’s time to
limit or stop driving:
1. When exiting a highway or interstate,
does the driver seem confused?
2. Does the driver seem nervous or
agitated when driving?
3. Does he/she fail to stop at red
lights or stop signs?
4. Is there confusion over the gas or
the brake pedal?
5. Are there unexplained dents in the
paint of the car, mailbox, garage, or other
objects/vehicles at the home?
6. Can he/she read and understand
7. Does the driver stop for no apparent
8. How do other drivers react to the
older driver on the road?
9. Are turns, especially left ones,
difficult to navigate?
10. Is he/she aware of potentially
dangerous situations or activity on the side of the
While these are not the only areas to
consider, they will provide the caregiver with a method
to begin evaluating how well the older driver is
navigating on the roadway on their own. An objective
evaluation is necessary in order to take the steps to
keeping loved ones safe while on the road.
Some older drivers start to ask for help
or naturally slow down in their driving innately as they
become more uncomfortable. For instance, some will stop
driving at night if they have difficulty seeing. Others
may only drive during early morning hours when they feel
like their facilities are sharper. Still others may ask
for a co-pilot when they make regular trips to the
doctor or grocery store as a way of “checking
themselves.” Caregivers should also consider these cues
when making an evaluation.
After the caregiver or family has
decided that the driver should limit or stop driving,
begin to have honest conversations with them about their
ability to drive. Defensiveness about driving ability is
common and older drivers often feel as if their
independence and livelihood are threatened by handing
over the keys.