Knowing When to Tell Grandma and Grandpa to Hand Over the Car Keys

Everyone has seen that driver on the road. The one who looks as if he isn’t quite sure where he is or what he is doing. The one who at the very least isn’t aware that he is piloting two tons of car in a manner dangerous to those around him. I’m not here to tell you that all elderly drivers are unsafe. One might argue that teen drivers are much worse (but that’s for another article). Regardless, there is no debating that at a certain point, our physical abilities suffer and consequently, so does our driving.
So what can be done? At some point, you must use your judgment to determine whether your elderly driver should still be driving. It is a difficult conversation. Driving is freedom. Driving is independence. No one wants to have to rely on another to take him to the store, to a doctor’s appointment or just to visit a friend.
But when is the right time to have that talk with your elderly driver? Here is a partial list of telltale signs that should give you warning that you should seriously consider discussing this issue with your elderly driver.
Does your elderly driver drive at inappropriate speeds, either too fast or too slow? Either extreme can create a tremendous hazard for them and those around them. Does your elderly driver frequently ask passengers to help women’s property rights in america check if it is clear to pass or turn? I’m not implying that this question is always inappropriate, but think for a moment, who is your elderly driver driving with? Is that person even capable of making that judgment call?
Does your elderly driver respond slowly to or not notice pedestrians, bicyclists and other drivers? Does he ignore, disobey or misinterpret street signs and traffic lights? Does he fail to yield to other cars or pedestrians who have the right-of-way? Does he fail to judge distances between cars correctly? Is he easily lost in an area which should be familiar to him?
Sometimes the behavior need not occur behind the wheel for it to become a concern. Does your elderly driver easily become frustrated and angry? We have all seen the potentially-devastating consequences of “road rage.” On the opposite end of the spectrum, does he appear (or worse actually is) drowsy, confused or frightened?
Does your elderly driver fail to notice mechanical defects with his car that would cause the car to be unsafe to drive? Conditions such as under-inflated or badly worn tires can result in disastrous crashes and resulting injuries. Has he been involved in one or more accident, minor or otherwise? Did he take responsibility for the accident or just blame it on someone else when the accident was clearly his fault? Does the vehicle he drives incur physical damage without explanation from the driver? These are just a few of the many questions that we advise our clients to ask when they have been involved in an auto accident.
The internet has many resources for families struggling with these issues. The State of Florida has provided a form that may be downloaded and submitted which one may use to report the questionable driving ability of an individual due to physical limitations While I do not advocate business law school being a “tattle tale” and certainly do recommend a one-on-one conversation with the elderly driver first, submission of this form might be a final alternative. I hope you will consider this article so that you might protect your family and others from heartache and physical injury.
DISCLAIMER – Nothing in this informational public service article should be construed as giving legal advice and should not be acted upon without first consulting an attorney. Also, this article should not be construed as creating an attorney-client relationship.

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