Most senior citizens want to keep driving as long as possible, provided they can do it safely, to maintain their independence. But despite slower reflexes, and diminished eyesight, it’s not always easy to tell when it’s time to let someone else do the driving.
By the time babies born today graduate from high school, 1 in 15 drivers will be over 75, and 1 in 5 will already suffer from some degree of dementia, everything from mild confusion, to full-blown Alzheimer’s. If your doctor decides you’re too impaired to drive, they’ll usually advise the DMV. Although some fear that doctors who treat mainly elderly patients are unwilling to do that, because they’ll lose patients that way.
That’s why experts say there needs to be some kind of benchmark that clearly defines when a person should stop driving. Maybe once they’re on medication for Alzheimer’s, or have certain markers on an MRI. Until there are clear-cut standards, it’s still up to the DMV to decide whether you can keep your license or not.
Here are the warning signs that it’s time for a senior to stop driving:
First: They find it hard to concentrate on driving, and they’re starting to get lost in familiar areas.
They also have frequent “close calls,” and almost-crashes, other drivers keep honking at them, and they’re getting multiple traffic tickets or "warnings" from the police.
Another sign that it’s time for a senior stop driving: You keep finding scrapes and dents on their car, as well as damage to fences, gate posts, mailboxes, and garage doors.
If even one of these signs looks familiar to you, or a loved one, you might want to take a driver-improvement course from AARP Driver Safety. But it also might be time to invest in taxi coupons, and look into rides for senior citizens in your area.