Americans are living longer, healthier, and they are driving later in life. And for older drivers, driving plays a very important role in their independence, mobility, and overall quality of life.
For years there has been a hotly disputed nationwide debate about the safety of older drivers. This discussion often centers on the question “When should an older driver stop driving?” which often leads to questions about mandatory testing for them. The real question that needs to be asked and answered is: “How can older adults continue to drive safely for as long as possible?”
Austin Insurance Group supports safe driving. This post will focus on the role families play.
The Role of Families and Older Drivers
Families can play a very big role in supporting an older relative and encouraging them to drive safely, since they are more familiar with each other’s health, driving habits and skills. They might also notice changes in their driving behavior long before a stranger or even a helpful professional would be able to. For many older adults, conversations about driving take place between spouses or adult children. In fact, older adults preferred that the majority of these conversations be held with family members, or a physician. However, not all of these family conversations are productive or well-informed. For family members to be supportive, they need to be knowledgeable and sensitive to engage in a successful conversation.
If you know older drivers, a friend or relative, and are concerned about their driving safety, you can take the following steps:
- Find out if the driver is really unsafe. It is best for family members to observe their loved one’s driving directly over time. Families can take notes, record dates and incidences of good and bad driving practices. Share this information with the driver, family and healthcare professionals to facilitate decisions about driving.
- Second, if an older relative is unsafe on the road, it is time to have a family conversation about it. Families should pick the right messenger, talk in private, and be supportive.
It’s not always easy for family members to broach this uncomfortable topic. Getting off to a good start can make the difference between success and failure. Although challenging, these conversations can work.
For a free, no obligation auto insurance rate comparison for olders drivers, contact our office anytime.
Austin Insurance Group | Local Texas Auto Insurance Agent | (512)339-2901 | When Should Older Drivers Stop Driv