When Should Elderly Drivers Stop Driving for Good?


Elderly Woman driver

Most individuals want to drive as long as they can. However, there may be a time in a person’s life when they need to stop or at least limit how often they drive, which could be on a temporary or permanent basis, depending on the person. As a person ages, their driving abilities change as well. There are some things older drivers can do to reduce their risk factors, but these do not make up for medical conditions or age degradation that makes it unsafe for a person to drive.

It is important that elderly drivers pay attention to the warning signs that their age may be impacting their ability to drive safe, and either make adjustments or stop driving altogether.

How Age Affects Driving

Age does not automatically translate into bad driving skills. There are numerous drivers that continue to use safe driving practices and even drive into their 80s or 90s. However, age does affect a person’s strength, coordination, and flexibility, which all affect how a person safely controls their vehicle.

Signs That It Is Time to Stop Driving for Good

There is not a set age for when someone should stop driving. Instead, an elderly driver must be on the lookout for signs that their ability to drive safely is declining. These signs include:

  1. Too many “close calls” on the road – meaning almost crashing.
  2. Dents or scrapes are present on the vehicle, but the individual does not know how they received them.
  3. The driver frequently becomes lost while on the road – even in familiar locations.
  4. Response times have lessened dramatically or the individual has a decreased ability to quickly press on the brake.
  5. Vision has dramatically changed.
  6. Hearing has decreased.
  7. Easily distracted or no longer can concentrate on a single object for several seconds.
  8. Taking medications that affect reflexes and senses. A physician may recommend the elderly driver no longer drive or at least stop driving while taking the medication.
  9. Increase in citations, such as tickets for speeding or driving too slow.
  10. Difficulty staying in the lane, accelerating, or failing to use turn signals.

While losing the ability to drive may make some elderly individuals feel as though they have lost their independence, there are benefits to no longer driving. The adjustment will be difficult, but an elderly individual will save money, decrease the likelihood of being in an accident, and can still keep a busy social life by allowing public transportation, friends, or family members to drive them around.

Have You Planned for the Future? Meet with an Elder Law Attorney

As you age, there are many changes. It is important to meet with an elder law attorney to plan out the future “unknowns,”  such as Medicare, Living Wills, and Health Care Proxies. The Law Office of Andrew M. Lamkin can assist you with your estate and legacy planning needs. Contact us today for a consultation at 516-605-0625 or fill out an online contact form.

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