Our Chicago car accident attorneys recently discussed the dangers that teen drivers are expected to face on our roadways through the busy holiday traffic. But our older drivers are also at high risk.The holidays are a time to spend with friends and family and this means our elderly loved ones, too. In many cases, old age comes with deteriorating senses, which can hinder a driver’s ability to navigate our roadways safely. Sadly, we often notice this decline in parents or older loved ones while visiting for the holidays. We ask all families to talk with their elderly relatives about staying safe and avoiding car accidents in Chicago.
Ten signs from the AARP that you may need to have a safe driving talk with your elderly loved ones:
-Have many “close calls” or almost-accidents.
-Finding scrapes, scratches or dents on their vehicles.
-Getting lost frequently on roadways that should be familiar.
-Having a tough time seeing or reacting to pavement markings, road signs or traffic signals.
-A slowed response time.
-Have a delayed response time to driving hazards.
-Having a tough time moving feet or hands on the vehicle’s pedals or wheel.
-Misjudging gaps in traffic.
-Receiving many honks from other drivers.
-Become distracted easily.
-Having a hard time moving to see around the whole car.
-Getting a lot of warnings or tickets from police.
So, now you know how to spot warning signs in your loved ones, but do you know how to approach the subject with them? Every family is different, but regardless of your relationship with the elderly driver it’s important to approach them as if this conversation is about their safety and not looking to rid them of their independence. Reiterate the importance of their safety on our roadways. Consider discussing your concerns with their spouse first. According to a recent study from the MIT AgeLab and the Hartford Financial Services Group, roughly half of married drivers above the age of 50 would rather talk about their driving concerns with their significant others, followed by doctors and then adult children.
If you’d like to start off the conversation, consider discussing factors that everyone can relate to, like the increase is vehicular traffic or the difficulty seeing road signs on such busy roadways. Maybe you could talk about the difficulty you have driving in specific weather conditions. Whichever way you choose, ease into it.
To avoid making them feel helpless and forced to give up driving, consider limiting their driving first. See if your elderly loved ones have a harder time behind the wheel and ask if they’d be comfortable not driving at night. Be accommodating and help them to transition into the change smoothly.
This isn’t done to be mean or as a punishment. Aging senses are a part of life and in the spirit of the holidays it’s our responsibility to look out for one another. Do your part to keep your loved ones safe on and off our roadways this year and have that conversation.
If you or an elderly loved one has been injured in a car accident, the personal injury attorneys and wrongful death lawyers at Abels & Annes offer free and confidential appointments to discuss your rights. Call (866) 99-ABELS. There is no fee unless you win.
More Blog Entries:
82-Year-Old Driver Injures Two Pedestrians – Are Your Parent’s at Risk for a Car Accident in Chicago?, Chicago Car Accident Lawyers Blog, July 25, 2011
Chicago drivers need to stop crashing into buildings, Chicago Car Accident Lawyers Blog, June 9, 2011