Should My Parent Stop Driving?


As we all know, driving goes beyond the simple ability to physically operate a vehicle. It also requires cognitive capabilities to make decisions quickly and safely.

Some of the signs of a diminishing capacity for safe driving include:

  • Delayed response to unexpected situations
  • Becoming easily distracted while driving
  • Decrease in confidence while driving
  • Having difficulty moving into or maintaining the correct lane of traffic
  • Hitting curbs when making right turns or backing up
  • Getting scrapes or dents on car, garage or mailbox
  • Having frequent close calls
  • Driving too fast or too slow for road conditions

Talk to a Pro

If you’ve noticed that your loved one shows some of these warning signs, it’s time to talk with them. Looking to a professional counselor can help alleviate the difficulty in broaching this important and sensitive subject.  One of the worst things to do is to ‘lay down the law’ severely and authoritatively to an aging person. You must be cognizant of the fact that taking away driving privileges is viewed by many people as the last straw in the corrosion of their independence.   

One Step at a Time

It is better to approach the subject in terms of steps in a process.  Firstly, you may want to simply share with your parent that they have to start thinking about this issue — perhaps coupled with the fact that when the time comes for the expanded conversation that you know there are some excellent options available today.   Hope that this second bit of information — options — sinks in. You can not hope for much more than this at this point because once people hear the thought verbalized that they may not be able to drive in the future, their ability to process information may be overridden by anger or the feeling of being threatened.  There may need to be numerous steps following this with the same goal, just letting them know that they must consider the possibility.

Know that Metro Trans is There for You

Do your homework, too.  You can’t promise options without really having some.  As they slowly start to consider the future without driving, you may want to gently provide them at some point with some information.  We’d be happy to help make this transition easier for your loved one, by providing safe & reliable non-emergency transportation.  Our services help parents maintain a sense of independence, as they are not relying on family members or friends for their transport needs; a lift is just a phone call away!  

The bottom line is that it is almost never an easy decision or process to help an independent person accept the reality that their driving days may be numbered.  Have compassion, have information, and have a plan that can help them with the transition.