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When Should Seniors Stop Driving?

Statistics show that elderly drivers cause more multiple car accidents, and car accidents with fatalities. Most older drivers have impaired eye sight, memory, reflex reaction time, and hearing loss, which can make getting behind the wheel and driving on the road difficult and possibly dangerous. While it might be hard to take the car keys away from a senior, it is far more dangerous for them and other people on the road if they are driving. Luckily, there are a number of ways to help seniors cope with the loss of independence from not being able to drive, like appreciating a new way of life and saving money. But when is too much? When should seniors stop driving?

  1. If a senior is driving erratically, it might be time for them to stop driving. This can mean forgetting turn off the turn signal or not turning it on at all, abrupt turns or lane changes, or even drifting on the road are all signs that senility is setting in and driving privileges should be taken away.
  2. When decreased mobility sets in, it is time to take away the keys from grandma or grandpa. When you drive you need to be able to look over your shoulder, turn the wheel, brake and even change gears. With decreased mobility, these basic maneuvers, which are required for safe driving, become a challenge for seniors and it might be time for them to stop driving.
  3. Another sign that a senior should stop driving is when they start showing signs of anger or anxiety. This is a tell tale sign that mental acuity is starting to decrease – perhaps due to memory loss or Alzheimer’s disease. This can put the driver at risk, the people in the car at risk, and even the people on the road at risk.
  4. A senior should also stop driving when the citations for traffic violations start to pile up. These citations can also increase your auto insurance – ask to see what some of their policy guidelines are, but it is also a sign that they are making more and more risky maneuvers on the road. For instance, speeding, driving too slow, running traffic light or even misreading traffic lights. If an elderly driver is finding their citations piling up and multiple visits to the courthouse to fight them, it is best to evaluate your effectiveness and safety as a driver on the road.
  5. Lastly, when a person of advanced ages start to lose their memory it can make them incredibly unsafe on the road. They can forget basic safety precautions and the rules or laws of the road, but they can also forget the basics, like where they live, what street to turn on or even what lane to be in. This can be the most tricky situation to be in as an elderly driver, and the person responsible for telling them that it just isn’t safe to be driving anymore. Helping the elderly person through the transition of not driving anymore can be an entirely new and challenging experience in and of itself.

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