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Signs That it Might Be Time to Stop Driving
Friday, July 26, 2019

Sometimes a sign can be hard to see.

Especially when you don’t want to see them at all!

Vehicles are synonymous with freedom. When you are a teenager and get your license, it is your opportunity to spread your wings and fly away from your parent’s watchful eye. Your car can take you to college and then off to make a living every day. When you are bored, you can take a drive. When you are hungry, you just hop in the car and get some food. And, that freedom is what makes it so hard to let driving go, even when you think it might be time. That’s what makes seeing the signs that it’s time to stop driving hard to do.   

So how do you know for sure? The signs can differ for everyone, but there are some baseline factors that might help you make the determination that it’s time to turn over the keys. Here are some signs that it might be time for a senior to stop driving: 

Traffic signs and signals are confusing.

When you start to stop at green lights, find yourself running red lights or stop signs or hesitate at intersections, it might be time to permanently pull over. You are not only putting yourself in danger, but you might be putting others in danger. 

You get lost and have to call family members for help.

There is nothing more terrifying than being just a few blocks away from home and not being able to get back. This can be a sign of bigger mental health issues including Dementia or Alzheimer’s, and if you run into this issue, it’s time to let your doctor know immediately. 

Parking your car has become difficult.

If you find yourself bumping into other vehicles or sideswiping cars in the parking lot when you are pulling into a spot, this could be a sign that it’s time to hang up the keys. It’s not just about the insurance costs. If you are having issues around parked cars, imagine what can happen when you get around moving vehicles. 

Family and friends are dropping hints.

The last thing your loved ones want to do is take away your freedom. Your family just wants you to be safe. It’s easy to be offended when they tell you that your driving skills are on the decline, but you need to listen. They might be seeing things that you are doing that you aren’t aware of. 

Certain mental and physical conditions can’t be ignored.

Dementia, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s - these are all mental health conditions and nervous system impairments that can lead to an inability to drive. But, some don’t realize that decreasing vision and hearing can lead to a lack of ability to drive. There are also medications that can cause drowsiness, and that can be extremely dangerous when operating a motor vehicle.   

Get your doctor’s opinion.

If you don’t want to take your family’s advice at face value and you think you are fine to drive, it might be a good idea to ask your doctor what they think. 

Looking for more tips for seniors? Make sure you check out our News section.