Driving is a form of independence that many Americans enjoy every day. As we age, however, our reflexes tend to slow down. This can make driving much more dangerous for seniors and for those with whom they share the road.
The Center for Disease Control (CDC) reports that approximately 7,500 adults aged 65 and older were killed in traffic crashes in 2020. In addition, nearly 200,000 were treated for crash-related injuries in emergency departments. This means that 20 senior adults are killed each day, and close to 540 are injured in crashes.
Having the difficult discussion
You may be reluctant to talk to your Grandmother about her driving abilities. While this is understandable, you should definitely talk with her if you observe any of these behaviors when she is behind the wheel:
- Driving the wrong way against traffic.
- Getting lost in familiar places.
- Failing to signal or turning left when signaling a right turn.
- Increased incidences of close calls.
- Receipt of two or more traffic citations or warnings in the past two years.
- New dents and scrapes on their car or surrounding objects, such as fences or mailboxes.
- Straddling or wandering across lanes.
- Making sudden lane changes that cut off other drivers.
- Missing stop signs and traffic signals.
- Confusion while driving.
- Braking, stopping or accelerating abruptly without reason.
- Accelerating when they mean to brake.
- Difficulty seeing pedestrians, objects or other vehicles that are in plain sight.
- Driving much slower than the speed limit.
Connecticut does not currently have any restrictions or special testing requirements for elderly drivers. Instead, it allows anyone age 65 or older to renew their license for a two-year period rather than the usual six-year period. Also, keep in mind that anyone who has been injured by an elderly driver is entitled to seek reimbursement for their medical bills and damages.