You had a small accident and scraped the side of your car on something in a parking lot. Maybe you were tired one morning and forgot to open the garage door before you tried to back out. Perhaps you had a close call or two on the road. Whatever the reason, your kids have reminded you that you’re getting on in years. They’ve gently suggested that it might be time to hang up your car keys for good.
Are they right? Consider these questions:
1. Is your health declining?
Nobody is spared the ravages of age, but some people encounter more problems in their golden years than others. If you have neurological problems, diabetes or any other condition that affects your fine or gross motor skills, causes difficulty seeing or sensory problems, you may experience trouble driving sooner than some of your contemporaries. You need to be honest with yourself when you’re assessing your physical capacity to handle a car.
2. Do you have hearing or vision problems?
Maybe your hearing is declining or your vision is getting a little worse. Either can impair your ability to drive. Both may be fixable. If your hearing or vision is part of the problem, find out what can be done to correct the situation. A hearing specialist or eye doctor might be able to help.
3. Are you starting to get spells of confusion?
If you’re having trouble remembering familiar paths, turning the wrong way down one-way roads and making mistakes that aren’t usual for you, it may be time to discuss medication changes or cognitive testing with your doctor.
Part of being a responsible driver is making sure that you stop driving when it’s time. But don’t give up those keys unnecessarily. Also, keep in mind that even responsible drivers can end up in a car accident through no fault of their own. Not every older driver is as conscientious as you, after all, and other drivers can still make foolish mistakes. If you’re hurt in a car wreck, find out how you can pursue fair compensation.