This is a tough decision. Driving is freedom. Freedom to get out, get around and go for groceries or travel. But when does it make sense to stop driving? Here are some obvious reasons and some subtle ones, that can help make the decision easier for you and your family. Most likely you’ve already had that conversation with an older member of your family, and it wasn’t easy. Here are 6 Signs it’s Time to Stop Driving as seen in Everyday Health by Krisha McCoy and medically reviewed by Lindsey Marcelin, MD, MPH.
Stop Signs for Older Drivers
There are some other clear indicators that it’s no longer safe to drive, Kennedy says. They include:
- Stopping at green lights or when there is no stop sign
- Getting confused by traffic signals
- Running stop signs or red lights
- Having accidents or side-swiping other cars when parking
- Getting lost and calling a family member for directions
- Hearing from friends and acquaintances who are concerned about a senior’s driving
When you do have concerns about your own or a loved one’s driving, one option is to request a driving evaluation, which can be performed at a rehabilitation center, driving school, or state licensing agency.
There are also physical therapy centers that can run tests to measure a person’s reaction time and vision, along with testing the ability to safely drive through an obstacle course, Kennedy says.
Adjusting to Life Without Driving
When older adults are adamant about not giving up their licenses, sometimes family members have to take action themselves by disabling the car or taking it away, Kennedy says.
When driving is no longer possible, you can reduce your need for transportation by taking advantage of delivery services for groceries, meals, and medications and even try at-home service providers, such as a hairdresser. You can also explore other options for transportation, including:
- Family and friends. Ask loved ones about setting aside time to drive you to the places you need to go.
- Eldercare providers. Look into senior health or eldercare services that provide transportation.
- Mass transit. If your city offers it, reacquaint yourself with the public bus or train system, which may be a fast and inexpensive form of transportation.
- Paratransit. Many communities offer paratransit, in which a driver will pick you up at home and take you where you need to go.
Making the transition from being an independent driver to being a passenger can be difficult. However, creating a network of alternative transportation arrangements to get you where you need to be can go a long way toward helping you adjust.
Marie Suszynski also contributed to this report.