Talking With Health Professionals About Driving

Talking With Health Professionals About Driving

Health professionals can identify and address health causes of driving problems, explain how conditions and medications can affect driving, suggest resources and help explore options.

The older adult or you can ask about driving during a medical appointment. If you want to be part of the discussion, ask the older adult if that's OK. If it is, ask what role the older adult wants you to play during the appointment. Should you write down information, ask questions or support them?

Collecting information beforehand helps health professionals better understand the older adult's situation. For example, is the older adult:

  • Having any problems with medications, health conditions or treatments?
  • Having difficulties driving or noticing changes with driving?
  • Experiencing pain, dizziness, daytime sleepiness or problems with memory or concentration?
  • Noticing physical changes, including problems with vision, balance, weakness or coordination?

General questions to ask health professionals include:

  • "What are the possible reasons why the older adult might have this difficulty with driving?"
  • "Could this driving issue be caused by a medication or health condition?"
  • "Is there a treatment to make these issues go away or get better?"
  • "Are there different treatments or medications for this health issues? Which is least likely to affect driving?"
  • "What can we do to keep this driving issue from becoming worse?"
  • "What can we do to avoid other difficulties with driving?"
  • "Should the older adult see a specialist?"

If the older adult or you have multiple concerns or questions, ask if you can schedule a longer appointment with the health professional. When you make the appointment, tell them you want to discuss driving.

If you want a health professional to help you convince the older adult to drive less or stop driving, ask for the professional's opinion beforehand. They might not agree with you about the older adult's driving abilities.

Many health professionals avoid telling their patients that they can't drive. Health professionals may feel that they don't have enough information to decide about their patients' driving, or may not want to damage their relationship with their patients.