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By Chuck Wells

“My sons and daughters had a meeting without me and decided that they want me to stop driving, but they’re making a big deal out of nothing. I’ve driven longer than they’ve been alive.” This is a quote from someone diagnosed with dementia.

When to tell someone that they need to stop driving because they are a danger to themselves and others is a touchy subject and not easily approached. There are people 90 years old who are better drivers than an 18 year-old.

What are some warning signs that a person should modify or end their driving? Here is a list I found put out by Hartford Ins. Co. (the car ins. company from AARP):

  • Incorrect signaling
  • Trouble navigating turns
  • Moving into a wrong lane
  • Confusion at exits
  • Parking inappropriately
  • Hitting curbs
  • Failing to notice traffic signs
  • Driving at inappropriate speeds (too slow or too fast)
  • Delayed responses to unexpected situations
  • Not anticipating potential dangerous situations
  • Increased agitation or irritation when driving
  • Scrapes or dents on the car, garage, or mailbox
  • Getting lost in familiar places
  • Near misses
  • Ticketed moving violations or warnings
  • Car accident
  • Confusing brake and gas pedals
  • Stopping in traffic for no apparent reason

Now, we have all done some of the things above but if you are doing a lot of these things repeatedly or dangerously (or notice someone in your family doing them), it might be time to adjust your driving. Don’t drive at night, long distances, in heavy traffic, or places not familiar to you.

Caregivers and family of elderly drivers can also start a discussion with a form called “Agreement with My Family about Driving” that is similar to a health care proxy that instructs them who should make the decisions about driving should the person become unsafe. Check with me if you would like a copy. There are no easy answers but the bottom line is: how would you feel if some young family was killed in a car accident because you or your relative was driving and you knew they should not?


A college in Hawaii (who cares about the courses if it is in Hawaii?) is offering some new courses:

  • Creative Embalming
  • Income Tax Evasion for the Non-Major Life After Death
    (one field trip required)
  • Advanced Trigonometry and its Application to Particle Physics and
  • Procurement at Wal-Mart
  • The Psychology of Sexual Addiction (textbook: “It Takes a Village”)

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