One of the most difficult parts of growing older is determining when the time is right to give up driving. For many people, driving is synonymous with independence, so most won’t give it up willingly.
Before deciding that an older person shouldn’t drive, there are a few steps you can take to reassure you that this is the right thing to do.
The first step is to have a thorough exam done by a doctor to ensure that they are physically capable of driving. Vision and hearing tests are critical components of this.
If health and reactions are good enough to drive, there are also other ways to increase safety.
Older adults can take a refresher course offered by AARP, AAA or the National Safety Council. Seniors may also want to avoid driving at night, stay out of heavily trafficked and unfamiliar areas and limit driving to days with good weather.
If all of these are employed and the individual is not able to drive safely, do your best to put a plan into place to provide the necessary transportation. Perhaps family members and friends can help. Many communities also have very good elder transport services.
As a last resort, if an older adult is found to be unsafe to drive and still refuses to give up his or her license, family or a designated responsible party can ask their physician to write a prescription NOT to drive. This prescription is sent to state license bureaus.