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What if an older driver doesn’t realize his or her driving is a problem?

This answer is based on a publication and research conducted by The Hartford and MIT AgeLab:

If driving skills continue to deteriorate after self-imposed restrictions, it is necessary to have follow-up conversations. Additional conversations with family members, doctors or law enforcement officials may be necessary. Here are some more direct appeals to help persuade a high-risk driver:

“Even if you were not at fault in a collision, you could be seriously injured or die.” Regardless of who is at fault, older adults are more likely to be injured or killed because they have less capacity to endure the physical trauma of an accident. Pre-existing medical conditions may complicate recovery or result in death.

“I know you would feel terrible if someone was hurt when you were driving.” Concern for others is often a stronger motivation than concern for self. In addition to physical harm to others, an accident can pose enormous financial and legal risks. Families should tactfully mention this possibility, but not dramatize the point.

“I’m afraid to let the grandchildren ride with you.” An older relative may realize the degree of concern when family members will not ride with them. Protecting lives is more important than protecting feelings.

“Let’s talk with your doctor about this.” Blame the poor health, not the driver. Preferably, find out the doctor’s opinion before suggesting this step. The doctor might not agree with the family’s assessment nor want to assume the role of determining who should drive. 

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.