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What are the signs a friend or relative should quit driving?

Safe driving requires a number of physical and cognitive skills -- both of which can decline when you either suffer from an illness or simply begin to age.

But someone who really should stop driving will often fail to recognize the signs that his or her driving is impaired:

-- Frequent near-misses and accidental "close calls"

-- Losing his or her temper and blaming other drivers for the near-misses

-- Dents that they don't recall (or won't admit) getting in their fender, grill, or doors -- with or without corresponding scrapes and dents on mailboxes, utility poles and garage doors

-- Frequently getting lost even in familiar locations or problems following even simple directions

-- Confusing the gas pedal with the brake

-- Misjudging the distance between two cars when merging

-- Trouble keeping his or her concentration on the road

-- Racking up multiple tickets, fender-benders or warnings from officers about driving errors

-- Being mistaken for a drunk driver

-- Having physical difficulty seeing the road clearly, especially at night or in bad weather

-- Having physical difficulty turning to check the rear view mirrors or side mirrors while in motion

If you notice a friend or relative is developing some of these symptoms and you think age or disability is causing the problem, you have a couple of options to take action.

First, if you are able to talk to his or her physician, you can mention your concerns and ask the physician to do an evaluation. Physicians are obligated by law to report anyone that they think is unsafe to drive to the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV).

Your other option is to complete a Request for Driver Reexamination at the DMV. While you cannot submit the request anonymously, you can ask the DMV not to disclose your identity.

While it might feel disloyal to report your friend or relative, keep in mind that you may be saving his or her life. The next time he or she is on the road, the usual "near miss" could be a serious accident instead.

If you end up falling victim to a driver who should have probably given up his or her license a while ago, consider contacting an attorney to discuss the possibility of a claim in order to get fair compensation for your injuries.

Source: AARP, "10 Signs That it's Time to Limit or Stop Driving," accessed March 16, 2017

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