As your parents age, you may worry about their ability to continue driving. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, senior drivers accounted for 20% of all traffic fatalities in 2019.
You might notice signs that your parents can no longer safely operate a vehicle. For example, you may discover multiple dents and dings on their vehicle or find that they easily become lost on familiar routes.
Talking to a parent about giving up the car keys can be difficult. Try these tips to help facilitate a productive conversation.
Avoid overwhelming your parent
Approach your parent one-on-one. You do not want him or her to feel ganged up on or defensive. Carefully, consider who will be the best person to relay the family’s concerns. This could be you, or it may be a sibling, spouse or close friend.
Provide specific examples and reasons
Broad statements about your parent’s driving habits are not likely to be persuasive Instead, provide specific examples of unsafe behaviors or recent accidents. Make sure to use a sympathetic and understanding tone and avoid accusatory language. Let your parent know their situation is a normal part of getting older.
As people age, they want to maintain their independence, and driving is often an important part of that. Offer up transportation alternatives that can help your parent continue to enjoy the same activities and routines. Options include public transportation, senior-focused transportation programs and rideshare services.
Asking your parent to stop driving can be a difficult conversation that may evoke many emotions. Makes sure to stay calm and focus on your goal: your parent’s safety.