Help Seniors Stay Safe on the Road | Mountain West Farm Bureau
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Help Seniors Stay Safe on the Road

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), about 19% of people killed in traffic crashes in 2018 were 65 and older. Here are some ways you can help the seniors in your life stay safe on the road.

 

Senior Driver Safety

Getting older doesn't necessarily mean a person's driving days are over, but it is important to plan ahead and make sure the seniors in your life stay safe on the road. If your loved ones are no longer able to drive safely, you can guide them toward other transportation options that meet their mobility needs.


Collect Information

If you think you need to have a conversation with an older driver about their driving abilities, remember that many older drivers look at driving as a form of independence. Bringing up the subject of their driving abilities can make them defensive. Being prepared with your observations and questions can help. Here are some things to consider:

  • Are they getting lost on familiar routes?
  • Have you noticed new dents or scratches on their vehicle?
  • Have they recently received a ticket for a driving violation?
  • Have they experienced a near-miss or crash recently?
  • Have they been advised to limit or stop driving due to a health condition?
  • Are they overwhelmed by road signs and markings when driving?
  • Are they taking any medications that might affect their driving?
  • Have you ever noticed them speeding or driving too slowly for no reason?
  • Are they suffering from any illnesses that may affect driving skills?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, be prepared to take the steps appropriate to the situation.


Make a Plan

Next, you should develop a plan of action based on the information you collected about your loved one's driving. If the driving issues are related to a medical condition, consider bringing your loved one to discuss the issue with a medical professional. They might take it more seriously from a doctor than they would from a family member. If there are issues related to mobility, there might be a way to adapt your loved one's vehicle to better fit their needs.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has several resources you can share with senior drivers to help them understand the issue and kick-start productive discussions with family members about potential solutions. These can range from limiting driving to daylight hours, taking public transportation, or arranging transportation with family members. It is important to include your loved one in the creation of the plan to ensure that their opinions and needs are heard and respected.


Follow Through

The conversation about putting the plan into action needs to be approached with sensitivity and respect for the older person. Even if they have been involved in developing the action plan, the conversation can easily provoke anger, defensiveness and denial. This is less likely to happen if the older driver has been involved in each step of the planning process.

Review the plan periodically to adjust for changes in your loved one's abilities and interests. Many communities are developing new transportation resources, so be sure to check regularly in case a new option comes along. The goal of your plan should always be to keep the senior or seniors in your life as mobile as possible while still ensuring their safety and the safety of others.


Reach out to a Mountain West agent today to ensure you and your loved ones have adequateauto coverage.

Information from NHTSA.gov

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