Concerned about your loved one's driving skills?
Are you seeing changes in your loved one's driving behaviour? Noticing a subtle decline in their skills behind the wheel? Maybe they're a bit slower to react or using poor judgment. Perhaps they're having difficulty seeing traffic signs or struggling to turn the steering wheel properly. Or maybe the issues are more severe – such as driving through red lights and stop signs, stopping at green lights or elsewhere for no reason, refusing to yield the right of way, or not realizing when vehicles are traveling in the opposite direction.
If you're concerned about your loved one's fitness to drive, you have several options:
- Have a frank conversation with them about your concerns and what you've seen. Talk about what the next steps might be to determine if they should consider hanging up the keys.
- Encourage them to discuss your concerns with their physician.
- Contact the physician yourself and talk to them directly.
People with cognitive impairment may not even recognize the symptoms and insist they have no problem driving. Cognitive impairments may not only deprive people of their ability to drive safely; cognitive impairments may also deprive them of their capacity to recognize there is a problem with their driving. That's why it's understandable for them to become resistant or anxious when you first broach the subject.
But as family and friends, we want to protect our loved ones and keep them safe. We want to do what's best for them – and for those they share the road with.
Starting a conversation about driving can be quite difficult for most people. We don't want to offend or alienate someone we love. That's why it's important to be prepared. Explain why you're concerned – and list examples that you've noticed.
Possible conversation starter: "Dad, we've seen things that indicate you are having some problems driving. These include…"
You can also focus on the bigger picture of road safety.
Possible conversation starter: "I'm concerned about your safety or that someone else might get hurt."
Possible conversation starter: "I know how important driving is to you. But I also know how concerned you are about the health and wellbeing of other people…"
Your loved one may have a tough time accepting what you're telling them. That's why you need to be prepared for a negative reaction. No matter how they respond, it's important for you to remain calm and not become defensive. Be a good listener and allow them to express their feelings and emotions. Do not lecture or demand that they give up their keys immediately. Let them know there are steps they can take to discover for themselves whether further action is required.
Let us know your concerns
If speaking directly to your loved one or to a physician is not an option, you can write our Medical Compliance and Assessments department. Let us know your name and relationship to the driver, the suspected medical condition, the specific driving behavior you observed that prompted your concern and a telephone number where you can be reached.
Once we've received and verified that information, we'll contact your loved one and ask them to provide us with a medical report. This is a fairly easy and standard procedure that will help us determine their fitness to drive. Manitoba Public Insurance will not disclose the name of the person who provided the information unless the person reporting is a physician or optometrist.
There are also self-assessment tools available to help your loved one assess their abilities. Completing these exercises may help them better understand concerns and prompt them to have a conversation with their physician.
If all else fails, give us a call. We can be reached at 204-985-1900 (in Winnipeg) or 1-866-617-6676 (toll free outside of Winnipeg). We're here to help and be of assistance to you in any way we can.