For senior citizens, safe driving is an important issue. Sometimes, the normal aging process interferes with driving, particularly the ability to drive safely. Safe driving, however, is just as important to the senior driver as it is to other individuals: an accident can affect multiple parties, and sometimes cause permanent, life-altering injures. Because of this, senior drivers should learn to reduce the risk factors for unsafe driving.
If a senior driver recognizes the need to give up their keys, this should not be viewed as an end to their freedom. It is all too easy to view no longer being able to drive as an indication that independence is over. However, with help from friends, family and the community, many seniors may find themselves more mobile than when they drove themselves. Living without driving typically only requires a tiny amount of forethought and scheduling, but otherwise will not significantly impact a senior’s lifestyle.
Below is a discussion of the many aspects of senior safe driving. Carefully consider each one and visit the corresponding links for more information.
Driving and Aging Facts
Aging affects individuals at different times and in different ways. Senior drivers should not compare themselves to other senior drivers, but instead carefully examine their own ability to drive safely. There is no specific age after which all seniors should stop driving; this decision must be made on an individual basis. Regardless of the particular stage and capabilities of individual senior drivers, however, all seniors should analyze their physical health to determine whether they are able to drive safely. Statistics showing the amount of accidents that occur each year involving seniors demonstrate the importance of this analysis.
- Insurance Information Institute
- Statistics on Older Drivers
- Driver Licensing Policies and Practices
- Older Adult Drivers: Fact Sheet
- Research Update: Motor Vehicle -Related Injuries Among Older Adults: A Growing Pulic Health Concern
Factors that Affect Safe Driving
The normal aging process experienced by every senior citizen can have enormous impact on driving abilities. Often, because of the slowness of these changes and the possibility of counteracting them in some way, for example, by wearing glasses to correct poor eyesight, these ailments are rarely considered by the driver as affecting their skills. Unfortunately, even one age-related condition can significantly reduce a driver’s capabilities. Slow reaction times, hearing loss and poor eyesight are common issues that affect senior driving.
- Dementia and Driving
- How Aging Affects the Ability to Drive
- Driving Safely While Aging Gracefully
- Driving When You Have Had Seizures
- Driving When You Have Arthritis
- Driving When You’ve Had A Stroke
- The Effect of Aging on Driving Skills
- The Effects of Aging on Driving Ability
- Medications and Driving
- Age Page: Older Drivers
Warning Signs of Unsafe Driving
Senior drivers may find that their driving skills have changed. In this instance, it is important to analyze these changes and assess whether the individual is currently driving safely and will be able to continue to do so in the future. This can be quite a difficult analysis, but it is a necessary one to prevent injuries to both the senior driver and others sharing the road. In general, if the senior driver feels as though driving has just become more difficult than it was previously, serious consideration should be given as to why this feeling exists. If after the analysis it is the senior’s driving capabilities that are creating this unsafe feeling, it might be time to renew driving safety skills or discontinue driving.
- Dangerous Driving and Seniors
- Your Family: Warning Signs of Unsafe Driving
- Senior Citizen Driving
- Safe Driver Checklist
- Knowing When to Put the Brakes on Senior Drivers
- Warning Signs of Unsafe Driving
- How to Help and Older Driver
- Senior Drivers: Assess Your Driving before Hanging up the Keys
- Making the “Key” Decision
- Should You Be Driving
- AMA Physician’s Guide to Assessing and Counseling Older Drivers
- Older Drivers and Risk
Driver Safety Tips
A senior citizen’s main concern should be caring for his or her health. However, seniors can also participate in the difficult decision of whether to continue driving. Through honest self-assessment and a critical analysis of driving skills, a senior citizen can identify whether it is the right decision to remain on the road. Possibly, this analysis will result in the individual recognizing that he could use a refresher course on driving skills, or maybe he will decide that he no longer wishes to drive. A senior citizen can also encourage other seniors to perform this same analysis.
- Why Take A Driver Safety Course
- Driver Safety Program Locator
- Senior Drivers
- Helping the Senior Driver in Your Life
- Brush Up On Your Driving Skills
- Chapter 7 Driving Safely
- Taking a Mature Driver Course
- Safe Driving for Older Adults
- Drivers 65 Plus: Self Rating Form
- Driving Safety as a Family Member Ages
- How to Improve Seniors’ Driving Skills
- The Older and Wiser Driver
- Boomer Driving Safety Tips
- Safety Tips for Senior Citizens and Their Caregivers: Older Adults and Driving
- Car Fit: Helping Mature Drivers Find Their Safest Fit
Adjusting to Life without Driving
No longer driving does not mean a senior citizen does not have freedom. Many states have established transportation services dedicated specifically to seniors. These services will pick up and drop off seniors at a specific destination according to the rider’s schedule. While at first it may be difficult adjusting to life without an automobile, many seniors may find that their mobility increases after handing over the keys. When seniors are no longer responsible for driving themselves, trips that were once considered too long, too far or too dangerous are suddenly once more able to be made.
- The Meaning of Driving
- The Community Transportation Association
- The Beverly Foundation
- When You are Concerned: Coping
- Transition from Driving
- NY State Office for the Aging: Getting Around
- How to Deal with Safe Driving Concerns you have for a Senior
- Physician’s Guide to Assessing Older Drivers
- Senior Corps
- Supplemental Transportation Programs Listing by State
- Ride Connection