Change Text Size +100%-

Deal With Negative Reactions

Sometimes, an older driver’s fear of having to depend on others to get around will override your efforts to be caring and supportive. Alternatively, the older driver you’re trying to help might simply deny having any problems with driving despite a mountain of evidence suggesting otherwise.

If you find yourself dealing with negative reactions like these, review the following tips:

  • Do not become defensive. Be a good listener and let the older driver express any feelings and emotions. This may help you to understand how and why the conversation has been upsetting.
  • Respond with empathetic phrases. State, “I understand how this is upsetting,” or, “Let’s focus on what we can do to help keep you safe without limiting when and where you want to go.”
  • Do not lecture or demand that an older driver give up the keys. The more you alienate your listener, the less you will be able to help.
  • Be objective. Encourage the older driver to check safe driving skills and abilities by taking a self-rating program or getting an assessment from a professional.
  • Work together to agree on a plan of action. If you initiate the conversation about safe driving early – before any problems exist – the transition from driver to passenger can be very gradual. It might begin with self-imposed restrictions on when or where the older driver chooses to drive. It may progress to building up a comfort level in using other forms of transportation before there’s a need to depend on them. This plan also could provide enough time to move the older driver’s residence, so there would be a very limited need to drive at all in the future.

Source: Some of the content on this page was developed using information provided by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration