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Accidents happen when people refuse to give up their keys

Some people have a hard time accepting that it's time to put away their driver's license and hang up the keys.

Whether the situation is just temporary or looks to be permanent, drivers who insist on driving once they start showing signs that they can't handle the task end up putting both themselves and everyone else on the road at risk.

What are some signs that a driver shouldn't be behind the wheel any longer?

1. The driver is of advanced age.

Being older doesn't automatically mean that someone shouldn't be behind the wheel—but there are facets of aging that can make it harder for older drivers to handle the road.

If an older driver is suffering from cataracts, for example, he or she may have a hard time seeing road signs, traffic lights, or turn signals. Night driving can become next to impossible because of the halo effect around other driver's lights.

Similarly, older drivers may have problems with maneuverability as age-related arthritis starts taking its toll on their ability to get a full range-of-motion when they turn their head to check for traffic, manipulate the steering wheel or shift gears (if they drive a standard).

2. The driver has temporary or chronic health problems.

Even younger drivers can experience problems that make it time to set down the car keys. Health problems that require certain medications should automatically make even an otherwise safe driver consider alternate transportation.

For example, cold and allergy season can leave a younger driver with no other problems choosing between being largely incapacitated by severe sneezing and coughing or having his or her senses dulled and reaction times slowed because of cold and allergy medication. He or she should find an alternate way to work until the problem passes.

Someone with a chronic condition, however, may have to consider giving up driving altogether, especially if he or she is going to need life-long therapy with narcotic painkillers, muscle relaxants, antidepressants or anxiety medications. All of those can make a driver sleepy, disoriented or impair judgment while on the road.

If you end up in a car accident with a driver who admits that he or she had trouble seeing your turn signal, was drowsy due to medication, makes a remark about having had multiple accidents recently, take note—that may come in handy if you have to pursue a lawsuit to recover for your injuries.

Source: AARP, "10 Signs That it's Time to Limit or Stop Driving," accessed Jan. 20, 2017

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