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Talking to At-Risk elderly Loved Ones About Driving and Accidents

Elderly drivers can be safe behind the wheel, but senior drivers statistically have more accidents per mile driven than younger adult drivers. In fact, only teen drivers have more accidents per mile driven – and their accidents are less likely to be fatal when compared with crashes involving the elderly.

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If you have a loved one, you may worry that they’ll be in a car accident in Hollywood or their home community. You may realize that any health conditions they have may make it harder for them to recover quickly, and you may genuinely be worried about their welfare. But how can you have a conversation about driving skills and safety with a parent or other senior?

There are a few things you can do:

1) Know the warning signs.

Don’t assume a person should hang up the car keys because they have passed a certain number of birthdays. Some drivers stay safe well into their golden years. Instead, look for signs of trouble. Is your loved one getting into many “minor” crashes? Are there dents on their car they can’t explain? Do you feel unsafe or uncomfortable driving with them? Those are signs you’ll want to pay attention to.

2) Be prepared for a few conversations.

If you need to sit down and talk to a loved one about their driving skills, do so in a calm and non-confrontational way. Ask them whether they could use some support with driving, or if they have concerns about accidents. Take the time to listen to their worries.

3) Plan ahead – and think outside your own perspective.

The prospect of losing a car – and the independence that comes with it – is significant. In Hollywood and South Florida, especially, mass transit isn’t as always as well-developed as in other parts of the country. Before you talk to a loved one, consider how you would feel if you couldn’t easily drive. Be prepared to show up with specific ideas. For example, have a list of recent fender benders and a list of shuttle services or other services that can help your family member get around easily.

4) Talk to a doctor first.

Encourage your loved one to see a doctor to find out whether there are any medical reasons for driving difficulties. Sometimes, adjusting medications, treating symptoms, or improving glasses prescriptions can have a positive impact on driving safety.

5) Talk to a driving rehabilitation professional next.

A doctor can refer you to a driving rehabilitation professional. This person can perform an assessment of driving ability and safety. Sometimes, hearing a professional say there’s a problem can make a loved one more amenable to considering giving up the keys. More importantly, a professional can tell you whether there’s really a cause for concern and may even be able to help make changes to a loved one’s car or driving education so that they can handle a car safely.

6) Continue to encourage calm and supportive conversations.

Stay calm and continue to have supportive and loving conversations so that your family can make the right decisions to keep everyone safe. Work together to find answers.

If you have been injured by a driver in Hollywood or anywhere in South Florida, you may have a legal claim. To find out more, contact Flaxman Law Group. It is absolutely free to contact our law firm to get legal advice and a personalized case analysis. There’s no obligation and your consultation remains fully confidential, so don’t hesitate to contact us if you think you may have a claim.