Though many people can continue driving safely well into their golden years, seniors face several factors that put them at greater risk for collisions. Hearing loss, visual impairment, dementia and other conditions can all greatly affect an elderly driver’s ability to operate a vehicle safely.
Taking the Keys Away
When an elderly driver’s reflexes have declined, family members need to take the keys away. Seniors over the age of 70 are more likely than young drivers to be injured or hospitalized in the event of a car crash. If a senior driver is startled by other cars, changing lanes erratically or getting lost on familiar roads, it’s time to talk with him or her about alternative means of transportation. Before approaching your loved one, be sure to prepare an action plan and show empathy toward his or her situation.
Understanding Possible Liabilities
The safety of your loved one and other drivers should always be your first concern, but it’s also important to keep possible liabilities in mind. Generally, adult children aren’t legally responsible for accidents caused by elderly parents. However, you could face liability for your mother or father if you have a conservatorship. Laws differ from state to state, and a lawyer in Buffalo, NY can help you determine your responsibility.
Seniors could also face lawsuits that aren’t covered by their insurance policies if someone can prove that the driver knew he or she shouldn’t be on the road. If your loved one is reluctant to give up the keys, consult with a Brown Chiari attorney in Buffalo, NY for legal advice that could persuade them.
Helping Seniors Stay Active
For many elderly motorists, driving provides an important measure of freedom and a sense of independence. Driving is also convenient and gives seniors the flexibility to set their own schedules. It’s essential for loved ones to come up with new ways for elderly drivers to stay active. Spread out driving shifts among family members or arrange for a personal taxi service. By helping loved ones continue to reach their favorite places, you can ensure that their senior years are spent actively.