Many families avoid any discussion about safe driving and don’t consider transportation alternatives for their aging loved ones until there is a crisis.

There are things adult children can do to help their parents stay safe on the road.

For example, families can urge their loved ones to speak with a doctor about what effects their medications and overall health may have on their ability to drive.

Families also can engage an occupational therapy specialist to conduct an independent assessment of their loved one’s driving ability and safety behind the wheel.

No matter the situation, We Need to Talk ( helps adult children better understand how to speak with their parents about driver safety and how to approach the topic of their one day hanging up the car keys.

The website, part of the AARP Driver Safety Program, also can help adult children become aware of certain warning signs that it might be time for their parents to hang up the keys.

The Driver Safety Program reviews some of the basic skills and rules that can keep us safe on the road. Since 1979, more than 10 million people have completed the course. Available to everyone over the age of 50, the course focuses on accident prevention measures, how to deal with aggressive drivers, and new rules and technology that affect driving.

As a bonus, Maine insurance companies are mandated to offer discounts to drivers who have completed this program.

Tom Harvey, state coordinator

AARP Driver Safety Program