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10 signs that your loved one may be having trouble driving

Driving is a complex skill that requires a mix of good judgment, clear hearing and eyesight, the ability to react quickly when needed, navigational abilities, and an understanding of rules, norms and laws. Because of the complex and multi-dimensional nature of driving, pin-pointing the exact time when a loved one loses the ability to coordinate these skills is very difficult. Plus, it is hard to deny a loved one driving privileges because of the loss of independence, and the conversation can become something that is easy to postpone.

Asking yourself these 10 questions can help:

1. Does your loved one run stop signs?

2. Do other drivers frequently honk at your loved one?

3. Does your loved one stop at green lights?

4. Does your loved one drive well below the speed limit?

5. Has your loved one received traffic violation notification?

6. Has your loved one had a recent accident?

7. Does your loved one take too long to reach a destination?

8. Does your loved one have trouble getting on and off highway entrances and exits?

9. Does your loved one switch lanes without looking?

10. Does your loved one seem drowsy and tired?

Changes in driving skills need to be evaluated on an ongoing basis, and changes in medication and declining health should signal a need to re-evaluate driving.  

Make sure you talk to your loved one when he or she is prescribed a new medication, and find out about side effects and interactions with the existing prescription regimen.   

If you worry that your loved one should not be driving, but you are unable to persuade him or her to stop, contact your loved one’s doctor or hire an independent driving assessment service to professionally evaluate your loved one’s driving abilities. This conversation can be very difficult, but the safety of your loved one and others on the road depends on it.

This column was written by Lift Caregiving. Their website,, is an online resource for caregivers.