Should My Parents Consider Retiring from Driving?

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Retiring from driving can protect you and others.

A driver license is a symbol of freedom in the United States.

For decades youths have eagerly awaited their sixteenth birthdays so they could begin get their license.

Many people fear the inexperience of young drivers on the road.

According to a recent AARP article titled “Is It Time for Your Loved One to Retire From Driving?,” elderly drivers may also be a cause for concern.

Retiring from driving may be the best option as you age.
Retiring from driving may keep your loved ones safe.

Why?

The odds of being in a fatal car crash rise noticeably at the age of 70.

Yikes!

The thought of your aging parent becoming one of these statistics is frightening, to say the least.

For this reason, you may need to have a conversation with a love one about retiring from driving.

These are not easy conversations.

Having now driver license leads to dependence on others as well as to potential isolation.

Even so, a number of risk factors increase with age.

As people age, they may develop a false sense of security and may ignore physical affects of aging like vision or hearing problems and slower reaction times.

Medical conditions like strokes, Parkinson’s disease, macular degeneration, glaucoma, dementia, cardiovascular disease, and arthritis can compromise the driving ability of a senior.

Prescription side effects also have been connected to an increased risk for motor vehicle accidents.

Common concerns associated with aging drivers include getting lost, minor accidents, difficulty parking, driving too fast, driving too slow, running red lights or stops signs, and getting tickets.

How can you tell if your loved one should consider retiring from driving?

One option is to join your loved ones on errands to observe their confidence and abilities.

Another option is to encourage your loved one to take an older adult driving evaluation from a third party.

This does not impact his or her license, making it an appealing option.

Currently, 33 states and Washington D.C. have special provisions for aging drivers.

These often include more frequent renewals, road tests, and in-person renewals.

If you are having a hard time discussing this potentially touchy subject with your senior loved one, having a physician or other professional initiate the conversation may be helpful.

Find a way to preserve the independence of your loved one, while also protecting them (and others) from the dangers of the road.

Reference: AARP (November 5, 2019) “Is It Time for Your Loved One to Retire From Driving?”