What to Do When Your Loved One Is a Dangerous Driver

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When someone you care about is a dangerous driver, it can put you in a very difficult situation. Telling someone you care about that they are a dangerous driver and need to either improve or stop driving is never a fun conversation to have. No matter what type of bad driver you have in your life, it is important to talk to them about it, if you think their driving is a danger to themself or others.

While driving is something that many of us do every day, it is still an activity involving many risks. Every year tens of thousands of people are killed, and millions are injured, in automobile accidents in the United States. If you are worried that a loved one is likely to be responsible for contributing to these numbers, it is important to talk to them about your concerns.

Types of Dangerous Drivers

There are many different types of dangerous drivers. However, they can all be sorted into three different broader categories:

  • Bad drivers who are likely to improve
  • Bad drivers that are essentially hopeless
  • Bad drivers who used to be good drivers

Some dangerous drivers are aware of their bad driving and acknowledge it. Others are aware, but attempt to deny it. There are also the types of bad drivers who somehow truly think that they are good drivers. Before approaching the subject, it is helpful if you know what the driver believes about their own abilities.

Bad Drivers Who Are Likely to Improve

The drivers who most often fit in this category are young drivers or at least new drivers. The reason these drivers are dangerous is that they are inexperienced. Typically these drivers are aware of the fact that they are not very good yet and don’t need to hear about it constantly. Reserve speaking to them about their bad driving for instances where their driving really poses a danger.

Constantly correcting them on every little thing can get under their skin and result in them blocking out all of your criticisms. Doing this can make it so that they don’t hear the information about the things that most critically need improvement. A subtler way to suggest that the young, dangerous driver in your life needs to be safer is by discussing with them what to do following a car accident.

Bad Drivers That Are Essentially Hopeless

This group covers drivers who can no longer blame their poor driving on inexperience. 

These drivers have always been bad and will always be bad. These drivers can be dangerous in all sorts of different ways. Some simply cannot focus enough of their attention on the task at hand. Others are too nervous about the possibility of something going wrong. Still, others are aggressive and have the potential to be safe drivers, yet simply aren’t interested in driving safely.

You can refuse to ride in a car with these people when they are driving. However, talking to them about their poor driving will unfortunately often get you nowhere. Nervous drivers may be happy to let you take the wheel and drive whenever you are traveling together. However, you likely won’t be traveling with them all of the time.

Aggressive drivers are a lot more difficult. Aggressive drivers are often aggressive people in general and take criticism as an attack and will respond by becoming even more aggressive. Aggressive drivers may be releasing built up aggression on the road. Being told they are a dangerous driver may not help, but talking to a therapist about their aggression may help them to release it in another form.

Bad Drivers Who Used to Be Good Drivers

This group is usually the most difficult to talk to about their dangerous driving. The vast majority of this group is made up of elderly drivers. When we begin to drive, it is one of our milestones on our path to adulthood and a symbol of our independence. 

When we are told that our driving is no longer good enough and that we have become a danger on the road and may need to stop driving soon, it is another reminder that we are getting older and are on the other end of the spectrum now from the early days of driving. Our independence is beginning to dwindle away.

Be Tactful

Whenever bringing up the subject of a loved one being a dangerous driver, it is important to be mindful of how they will perceive this subject. Look for the right moment to bring it up, and do not come on too forcefully. In cases where the person reacts very negatively, it might be best to drop the conversation and revisit it at another point.

When They Refuse to Take Action

When the dangerous driver repeatedly refuses to attempt to improve or quit driving, you may have to take action if you believe that they pose a serious risk. You can file an unsafe driver report with your state’s Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). The DMV will then contact your loved one and request a medical evaluation and possibly a driving test. This inquiry could result in their license being restricted or revoked.

This is certainly not the desired course of action. However, when all else fails, it may be essential for ensuring the safety of your loved one and others.

Cheryl Roy has built a successful legal career over the years. However, she wanted to reach out to people beyond her practice and decided to do so by writing. Cheryl took it as a personal mission to make legal information more accessible to the public. Therefore, she started sharing her expertise with individuals and businesses facing a legal dilemma. Now she has branched out to many online and offline platforms and works as a collaborative editor for Bader Scott Law Firm.