Discussing when an elderly relative should stop driving - WBRC FOX6 News - Birmingham, AL

Discussing when an elderly relative should stop driving

Source: File video Source: File video

Telling an elderly parent or loved one that they shouldn't be driving can be one of the most difficult discussions you'll ever have.

"It's a very delicate situation, and it's different for every person out there," said Clay Ingram with AAA. "There are some people that probably shouldn't be driving at age 60. Then there are other people, I had a great aunt that was still driving at age 99."

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention over 30 million adults, age 65 and older, have valid driver's licenses. However, the CDC also says that a driver's chance of dying in a car accident go up after age 75, and those numbers spike after age 80.

"People don't want to give up their freedom. They don't want to hand over their keys to their kids," said Ingram.

Because of that, Ingram suggests keeping a close eye on a loved one who is gaining in age. Watch for any decrease in cognitive or physical abilities.

"Most of us don't think of it as being a physical activity, but it is. And you have to have leg strength to mash the pedals, and arm strength to turn the steering wheels. You have to have good visual and cognitive skills to see the traffic around you."

If necessary, test your loved one's skills behind the wheel. Even bring in an objective third party to make the decision.

"Ride with the parent while they're driving, grandparent, whatever it may be. It might also be a good idea to have a professional driving instructor evaluate their driving abilities," said Ingram.

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