When Is It Time to Take the Car Keys
One of the most challenging things you may have to do is to take the car keys from a parent. When you take a parent’s car keys, it can cause emotional upset, physical and pragmatic worries about how they are going to get around. Your parent may not want to have to impose on other people for transportation. So, when is it time to take the keys?
Age and driving ability
When a person ages, driving becomes more difficult because of several issues. One is changes in vision because an older person can't see as far and that can affect reaction time. Also, being able to recognize horns, sirens and other warnings are essential for obeying the law and safety issues. Plus, reflexes also slow down and not being able to react to hazards quickly will diminish.
Neck and joint pain can make it hard to look in mirrors when changing lanes or to look for blind spots. If knee pain is an issue, it can affect the ability to reach the brake and gas petals quickly. If shoulder stiffness is a problem, it can make steering the car harder as well as shifting gears. All of this can cause reduced coordination which will make it difficult to keep control of the vehicle.
Mental changes will also occur because of slight differences in the brain making it difficult to divide attention and multi-task while driving. Trying to find traffic signals, road signs, avoiding pedestrians and other vehicles will become more challenging. Plus, different medications can affect driving abilities and affect how to operate heavy machinery, which cars are one.
There are some warning signs which you can look for when deciding to talk to your parent about giving up their license. Below is a list of these signs:
1. Not being able to see at night when driving even if they can see during the day. Also, if you notice drastically reduced peripheral vision even with corrective lenses.
2. Drives well at low speeds but having difficulty at high speeds. If their driving is erratic like hitting curbs, hard braking or acceleration, abrupt lane changes or missing turns.
3. If your parent is becoming lost on familiar roads or is having trouble reading the street signs or understanding directions.
4. If while driving, is frequently startled saying that the people or cars have come out of nowhere.
5. Not using turn signals or keeping the signals on but not changing lanes. Also, drifting into other lanes or even driving on the wrong side of the road.
When discussing giving up the car keys, have other transportation ideas ready. Suggest your parent let you drive them or if they don't want to do that, suggest buses or taxis. Also, there is now Uber and Lyft which you could offer to pay for if they are worried about the expense.
When it’s time to take the car keys, be ready with other options to make the transition easier.