NHTSA’s 2015 data finds that about 240,000 older adults were injured in crashes that year. That accounted for about 10 percent of all traffic crashes with injuries. It was an increase that could be prevented by making sure your parents aren’t driving if they are no longer driving safely.
Do you know what to look for? How do you decide when your parents aren’t safe drivers? Some families don’t realize it until their parent is in a crash. There are signs you should look for.
Difficulty Checking Blind Spots
Some cars are equipped with blind-spot detection systems. Your parents cannot rely on these to always be correct. They still need to check their blind spots before pulling into another lane or backing out of a driveway or parking spot.
If your parents have a hard time with back or neck pain, they may not be checking over both shoulders properly. If they cannot twist their necks or backs to fully look over their shoulders, they need to stop driving and contact their doctors. With physical therapy, they could regain some movement and be safe to drive in the future.
They Mistake Pedals or Can’t Move the Foot Fast Enough
Hip pain keeps your mom from quickly moving her foot from the gas pedal to the break. That’s not good. She can’t drive if she can’t move her foot fast enough.
If you’ve caught her pulling at her pant leg to move her lower leg, take away her keys. She may be able to drive again with adaptive equipment like hand controls, but until she can afford that, she needs to have someone else drive.
Your dad accidentally drove into a curb when he thought he was pressing the brake. If he’s mistaking pedals, even accidentally, he cannot be behind the wheel.
There Are Unexplained Dents and Scratches
Look over the car from time to time. If you’re seeing scratches and dents, ask your parents how they happened. If your parents are driving into things like the garage door frame or fences, their perception of depth and distance may be diminishing. It’s best to stop driving.
Don’t make them feel trapped at home. With senior care services, they can have caregivers drive them around. Eventually, they may be fine to drive again. In the meantime, it’s safer to keep them in the passenger seat with senior care aides helping out.
If you or an aging loved-one are considering hiring Elder Care in Culver City, CA, please contact the caring staff at Home Care Help. Serving All of Los Angeles County. Call Us Today (888) 989-7388
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