February 27, 2019

When Should You Take the Keys? Your Senior Driving Questions Answered

Are you worried that a loved one shouldn’t be driving any longer? Even if they only drive during the day? We answer senior-related driving questions.

Are you an old person that no longer desires to get behind the wheel of a car? If that’s the case, you are not alone.

Millions of people dread getting behind the wheel once they reach the age of 60. Why? Because most older people cannot operate a motor vehicle as they did in the past.

Still, a lot of seniors have a passion and love for the road. They are still able to get out on the street and drive effectively and safely. However, a lot of seniors need to know when to call it quits. The following information will help seniors answer their driving questions and know when it is time to get off the road.

Signs That a Senior Citizen Needs to Stop Driving

Once a person reaches the age of 65, they are officially considered a senior citizen. Most people between the ages of 50 and 64 already have this title. Once a person reaches age 65, their senior status will be official. There will be about 40 million drivers age 65 and older on the road by the year 2020.

These drivers must be in good enough health to adequately operate a vehicle. Many older people stop driving because their health has deteriorated or they have some type of mental condition that makes this task dangerous or impossible. Remember that prescription drugs can have serious side effects that force people to stop traveling.

Another reason for giving up driving has to do with the safe transportation of kids. If an older person feels like they can no longer safely travel with kids, they should seriously reconsider being behind the wheel. Loss of vision and the slowing of reflexes also force seniors off the road.

Have you ever noticed why older people tend to drive at a slower pace? It has to do with their diminishing ability to respond to stimuli within an environment. Older people have to drive slower in order to process what is going on around them better. Unfortunately, this is a reality of getting up in age.

State Licensing Requirements for Seniors

Many state licensing bureaus strongly evaluate seniors to see if they are able to function behind the wheel. They ask them various questions about their health, and they also evaluate their current vehicle operational skills.

If a state licensing agency discovers a senior should not be driving, they will not renew their license. Driving questions are just that important for this age group. This protocol is in place to protect seniors from harming themselves or other motorists.

The law when it comes to senior drivers varies from state to state. You should check with your local traffic department to see what the regulations are in your state. It’s important to check in on such information because your loved one may actually be breaking the law if they’re on the road.

In states where senior driving laws are more relaxed, seniors can still rate themselves with a number of online resources provided by the government. This can help them determine whether they should be on the road or not.

Is There an Exact Age to Stop Driving?

The answer to this question is no. The truth is there are plenty of 80-year-old drivers who can handle a vehicle better than a 23-year-old adult. A lot of older drivers are safe on the road, and their presence even helps others slow down (though they might get a little upset about it).

The point is older drivers are more cautious for a reason. They have years of experience that makes them realize driving safely is a sensible thing to do.

Also, you shouldn’t forget all the older drivers used to be young once. They too had a different approach to being on the road. This, of course, normally changes over time. The only time any person age 65 and older has to stop driving is when they can no longer handle driving safely on the roads.

Once a senior citizen becomes debilitated in some way, it may be the time to revoke driving privileges. This can happen at different ages depending on the individual.

For example, if a senior has developed a disease that can impact driving ability, such as dementia, it’s probably time to stop driving. Even more mild diseases, like diabetes, might be a reason not to get behind the wheel.

Seniors on medications that could inhibit driving ability may want to step away from driving. So might citizens who have a loss in physical ability or a lack of general strength and muscle movement.

And seniors who have really begun to lose their vision should be prohibited from getting behind the wheel for obvious reasons.

Viewpoints are split across the country when it comes to who should be allowed to revoke a senior’s driving rights. Some believe it should be the DMV or the government, some the family, and some doctors. At this time, instating more laws that regulate drivers is not politically popular.

Driving Questions for Senior Citizens

As we age, certain skills and abilities begin to fade away. It can be hard for senior citizens to adjust to new changes in their life and know when to stop or get help with tasks that used to come easy.

The above information should help senior answers any driving questions they may have. It’s important for seniors to know when it’s time to hand the keys over and make the roads a little safer for themselves and others.

Need more help caring for your elderly loved ones? Feel free to contact us with any questions you may have.