Family & Community: Driving

When Should Older Adults Stop Driving?

Although there are natural changes that may occur in our brains and to our bodies as we age, the question of when it's time to limit or stop driving is not about age. It’s about the ability of the driver. To this end, observing the driving of your loved one is a great first step in determining whether it’s time to talk to them about giving up the car keys.

Driving a car goes beyond the simple ability to physically operate a vehicle. Safely driving a car requires physical and cognitive capabilities, driving skills and good driving behavior. 

According to AARP Driving Safety, the following are some of the warning signs of unsafe driving:

  • Delayed response to unexpected situations

  • Becoming easily distracted while driving

  • Decrease in confidence while driving

  • Having difficulty moving into or maintaining the correct lane of traffic

  • Hitting curbs when making right turns or backing up

  • Getting scrapes or dents on car, garage or mailbox

  • Having frequent close calls

  • Driving too fast or too slow for road conditions

Older Drivers: Have you been worried about your driving? Have your family or friends expressed concern? Changes in your health may affect your driving skills over time. Don't risk hurting yourself or others. Information from the National Institute on Aging. 

Age and Driving - Safety Tips and Warning Signs for Older Drivers: By reducing risk factors and incorporating safe driving practices, you may be able to continue driving safely long into your senior years. Information from HelpGuide.org

We Need to TalkFamily Conversations with Older Drivers: Statistics actually indicate that most older adults are safe drivers, with high safety belt use and few citations for alcohol-related charges1. However, medical conditions, medication usage and reduced physical function can increase the risk of accidents and injury among older adults. In-depth information from Hartford Insurance and the MIT Age Lab.

Drivers 65 Plus Check Your Performance: A Self-Rating Tool with Facts and Suggestions for Safe Driving from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety. Print out the quiz and rate yourself on your ability to continue being a safe driver.