There are over 1.1 million licensed drivers in Washington State ages 65 and over. And data shows that people over the age of 70 are in the fastest growing population segment in our State. This is a pressing consideration as our elderly population face unique challenges that can make driving difficult and at times, unsafe. Further, elderly people tend to be frailer and more susceptible to serious injury and fatality when in a car crash.
But asking an elderly person to give up driving can impact their lives in many ways. Driving can be a core part of a person’s independence. In fact, some studies show that talking to an elderly parent about when to give up driving is more difficult than discussing final wishes or finances.
There are steps you can take to help the elderly loved ones in your life drive safer and smarter. Plus, know the signs for when it’s time to grow concerned and get involved. Thankfully, there are resources available to help your loved one retain their independence, even if they must give up their keys.
It’s clear that the population of seniors is growing in the US. Besides this, many are retaining their drivers licenses well into their 70s, 80s, and beyond.
Let’s be clear: age alone is not a reason for a person to give up driving. However, as we age, there’s a greater chance that we’ll face physical or cognitive challenges. In addition, 89% of US adults ages 65 and older take prescription drugs. Some of these may impact one’s ability to drive.
Here are some signs that might indicate that an older driver needs to modify or stop driving:
When in doubt, ask yourself this question: would I be nervous to be a passenger in this person’s car?
First, let’s share some ways you can keep your elderly loved one driving safer. These tips may be useful if your loved one is starting to face some health challenges but is still capable of driving.
Here’s one more tidbit we think all Washington State seniors should know about: if you take an 8-hour online collision prevention course, you could save money on your car insurance. All Washington drivers ages 55 and older are eligible.
To learn more, head to the Washington DOL website.
It can be difficult to have a conversation with an elderly person about how and when to stop driving. But don’t wait until a serious accident happens before you speak up.
One of the best ways you can be supportive is to help your loved one explore other ways for them to get around. Some people may feel really uncomfortable using any of these services if they’ve never used them before. Offer to walk them through the steps of scheduling or even better, join them for their first ride.
Options for seniors in Piere County:
There are additional options that may work better. Pierce County has a list of transportation options on their website.
At Ladenburg Law, we assist clients every day who have been injured as victims of car crashes. If you’ve been in a crash – or know someone who has – you can always reach out to our team. One of our attorneys will be happy to answer your questions and see if we can help. There’s no cost for a consult. In fact, we only charge a fee if we’re able to win you a settlement.