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How Do You Know When It’s Time to Stop Driving?

Deciding that someone we love is no longer capable of driving can be difficult.

For many, handing over the keys can feel as if we’re losing our independence and the ability to go out on our own terms. When we stop driving, we have to rely on others to get us to where we need to go. It’s a hard decision to make, but for the safety of our loved ones and for other motorists on the road, it’s a discussion that has to take place.

If you’re unsure as to whether or not it’s time to have this conversation, keep reading to learn AARP’s warning signs that indicate if a person should stop driving.

  • Confusion between the brake and gas pedals. Additionally, it’s important to pay attention to notice if your elderly family member is struggling with working the pedals, or if they lift their leg to switch pedals rather than keeping their heel planted on the floor.
  • Difficulty following common traffic signals, road signs and pavement markings.  A common example would be braking at a green light or failing to stop at red lights and stop signs.
  • Reduced arm strength, which can make it harder to turn the steering wheel quickly.
  • Getting lost in familiar places.
  • Frequent “close calls.”
  • Noticing dents and scrapes on the car. It’s also important to look for dents and scratches on nearby objects such as garage doors, fences and mailboxes.
  • Slowed reaction times to common occurrences on the road, including the ability to realize if a car ahead has stopped or is slowing down.
  • Struggling to turn to check the rearview mirror while changing lanes or backing up.

If you begin to notice one or more of these signs in your aging loved one, you might want to consider limiting or stopping their driving altogether. We understand that it’s a hard subject to come to terms with and one that will be difficult to discuss, but as we mentioned before, it’s imperative to have this conversation to not only ensure the safety of your loved ones or yourself, but the fellow motorists on the road as well.

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For general information about
St. Barnabas Health System,
call (724) 443-0700.

St. Barnabas Health System
5850 Meridian Road
Gibsonia, PA 15044

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