When Should Seniors Stop Driving?

Written By: William Rivers
Reviewed By: William Rivers
Published: March 1, 2022
Last updated: March 30, 2023

Getting older doesn't make you incapable of driving; however, assessing your driving abilities on a regular basis is important to maintain senior health and safety.

Although there's no set age to stop driving a car, seniors should consider stopping when their impaired vision and senses affect their ability to drive. Conditions that come with old age, such as impaired motor skills, poor vision, and slow response times, may make them more prone to road accidents.

Trying to convince a senior loved one that it's time to stop driving is difficult. The best way to address the topic is with a balanced approach that incorporates useful knowledge, compassion, and solutions.

Honest Assessment Of Seniors’ Driving Ability

Vision, hearing, reflexes, and physical coordination are just a few of the factors that can make it difficult for a senior driver to be efficient and aware on the road.

Attempting to drive while suffering from a certain condition might potentially cause issues. Glaucoma, dementia, Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease, cataracts, arthritis, seizures, diabetes, and other chronic illnesses can impair a senior’s ability to drive.

Consult your doctor about any health issues that may prevent you from driving safely.

Warning Signs for Senior Drivers

Seniors do not quit driving at a certain age since being older does not make them more vulnerable to car accidents. This is also the reason why they can retake their driving test.

Instead, these mishaps are caused by other health issues that come with aging. Here are several indicators that it's time for a senior to hand over the steering wheel:

  • Unable to yield or halt when directed by signs or traffic signals
  • Inability to distinguish the right of way
  • Failure to be mindful of speed limitations
  • Not signaling when turning or changing lanes
  • Accidents when parking, side-swiping other vehicles, etc.
  • Getting lost and requesting directions from a family member
  • Relatives and acquaintances express concern

Talking To A Senior Loved One About Driving

Now that you’ve finally looked out for the signs, what’s next? Talking to a senior loved one about their driving ability is a tough discussion.

The loss of one's driver's license might feel like a crippling loss of independence, so it's wise to start with compassion. You also don't want them to feel like they're a public annoyance, menace, or hazard.

Despite the coverage of auto insurers, the main goal is to steer seniors away from road mishaps. After the discussion, your loved one should feel as if you came to a decision together rather than as if they were told what to do.

Other Driving Alternatives

Your loved one will be relieved to know there are multiple options for getting around. Although a new mode of transportation can take some getting used to, the availability of options allows anyone to discover a preference that suits their needs.

By helping your loved one adjust, you will also make the transition easier.

Friends And Family

Inquire with family and friends about scheduling time to drive you to places you need to go.

Elderly Care Providers 

Look into transportation-based senior health or eldercare services.

Public Transportation

Re-acquaint yourself with your city's public bus or train system, which can be a quick and economical mode of transit.


Aside from car rental agencies for seniors, many localities also have paratransit, in which a driver picks you up from your home and transports you to your destination.

Bottom Line

At the end of the day, the senior in your life may be adamant about not driving. You might be discouraged by this. There may, however, be ground for compromise. So, don't give up too soon!

If you want to learn about more ways you can help a senior loved one, head over to Senior Strong for insightful advice and helpful recommendations.

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William Rivers is an editor with a master’s degree in Human Services Counseling at Maine State University. He has more than 20 years of experience working in the senior healthcare industry.
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