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Senior Guide for Safe Driving - Part 6

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Senior Guide for Safe Driving

Part 6: When to Stop Driving

We all want to continue driving as long as we can. However, the time may come when we must limit or stop driving either temporarily or permanently.

Most drivers monitor themselves and gradually limit or stop driving when they feel that they are unable to react to driving situations, or their driving in general is no longer safe. However, some people may fail to immediately recognize declining driving abilities, or fear the loss of independence. The following information and suggestions may be helpful to you or someone you care about. 

Warning Signs

As we age, some of us may notice changes that affect our driving ability. These changes may be a result of an illness or injury, or could occur gradually over a period of time. Review the following warning signs to see if you or someone you know may be an unsafe driver: 

  • Feeling uncomfortable, nervous, angry, or fearful while driving. 
  • Dents and scrapes on the car, fences, mailbox, garage doors, curbs, etc. 
  • Drifting across lane markers or into other lanes. 
  • Getting lost in familiar places. 
  • Ignoring signs and signals. 
  • Driving too slow or fast. 
  • Frequent “close calls” or collisions. 
  • Late braking. 
  • Difficulty judging gaps in traffic. 
  • Other drivers often honk at you. 
  • Friends or relatives not wanting to ride with you. 
  • Being easily distracted or having a hard time concentrating while driving. 
  • Difficulty turning your head to check over your shoulder when backing or changing lanes. 
  • Getting frequent traffic tickets or warnings from law enforcement officers. 
  • Having difficulty finding your parked vehicle. 

If you notice 1 or more of these warning signs, you may want to attend a driver refresher class or have your driving skills assessed by DMV, a driving professional, friend, or relative. Talk to your physician if you are experiencing unusual concentration or memory problems or other physical symptoms that may affect your ability to drive safely.

Getting Around Without Driving

As mentioned earlier, DMV wants you to continue driving for as long as you can safely do so. If you are no longer capable of driving or do not feel safe on the road, you are not alone. Many people get by just fine without a car. Senior transportation programs can help individuals who do not drive and cannot use public transportation.

Options for Getting Around Without a Vehicle 

  • Senior transportation programs 
  • Public transportation 
  • Shuttle buses or vans 
  • Taxi cabs or transportation network companies (find out if there are companies in your community that offer discounts to seniors) 
  • Local community-based services 
  • Carpooling, walking, relocating 
  • Family, friends, neighbors, or coworkers who offer rides to stores, medical appointments, church, etc. 

Remember, transportation services vary among communities, so experiment to find out which ones work best for you. For more information on services in your community, look in the Yellow Pages under Community Services for Senior Citizens, Senior Organizations, or Transportation, and check the listing of resources in Part 8

Additional Tips 

  • Many stores deliver products directly to your door. 
  • Have groceries delivered. Many stores deliver free or for a low fee. 
  • Ask family, friends, or neighbors to pick up groceries or other items for you. 
  • Order medications by mail from pharmacies that you know and trust. 
  • Have meals delivered. 
  • Shop from catalogs or online.

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