- Driving is one of the defining traits of independence, and one that is among the hardest to give up as a person ages.
- There is no arbitrary age at which a person should stop driving – it’s different for each individual.
- Aging does result in changes to a person’s strength, reaction times, coordination, eyesight and hearing, and flexibility. These changes impact a person’s ability to drive safely.
- Older adults are more likely to be in fatal crashes or to receive traffic citations than younger adults.
Warning signs that it may be time to cut back on driving or turn over the keys include:
- Changes to your depth perception.
- A noticeable increase in “near-misses.”
- Leg pain or numbness that reduce your ability to switch from the gas to the brakes.
- Difficulty remembering road signs or signals or difficulty concentrating.
- Pain or stiffness in your neck that make it difficult to turn your head.
Use this “Self-Rating” tool by AAA to assess other risks.
To best enhance your ability to continue driving, a few measures may help:
- Get your eyes and hearing checked regularly.
- Talk with your doctor about other ailments or conditions.
- Sleep well. Drowsiness can be worse than drunkenness when it comes to driving safely.
- Review medications with a physician to identify those that can cause dizziness or drowsiness.
- Sign up for an AARP online course or find a driving course near you.
Where to turn for more info:
- Older Driver Safety: Warning Signs and Knowing When to Stop
- Evaluate Your Driving Ability
(AAA – Senior Driving)
- Driver Safety