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When To Retire From Driving

Driving is a skill that requires a certain amount of physical and cognitive ability. As people are living longer, it raises the question: Is there a maximum age limit for driving? How do drivers know when to retire from driving? We take a look at when drivers should consider giving up their driver’s license in this article.

when to retire from driving

Older Population

People are living longer, healthier lives. This leads to an increase in older drivers. Roughly 25% of drivers are age 65 and older. But, different people age differently. In the United States, there is no law to regulate the maximum age for drivers.

No Age Limit For Drivers

While it is true there are no laws to regulate the maximum age for drivers in the United States, different states have laws to address concerns about a driver’s ability to safely operate a vehicle. Laws in various states require medical staff and/or police to report drivers whose skills may be affected by a medically-related condition. This can include:

  • visual impairment
  • seizures
  • muscle problems
  • loss of extremity
  • cognitive impairment
  • certain medications
  • thoughts of suicide or chronic depression

While the Department of Transportation may require reporting of certain health-related conditions, age is not a factor. Depending on the situation, the driver may be required to pass a new driving test or undergo a physical exam.

Too Old To Drive

There is no such thing as being too old to drive in the United States. But, drivers should understand how their age and health can drastically affect driving skills. This matters, not only for the driver but for other drivers and passengers on the road.

am i too old to drive?

Consider Safety

The most important part of operating a vehicle is safety. For your safety, and the safety of others it is important to have a realistic assessment of your driving ability.

When Should You Give Up Driving?

While the age for giving up driving may be different for everyone, there are some signs that it may be time to retire from driving.
Physical limitations – decreased strength and flexibility can make it unsafe to drive. Are you having trouble turning your head to check blind spots? Do you have slower reaction times? Is it difficult to read street signs? Are you unable to hear? Physical limitations can make it unsafe to drive.
Cognitive limitations – difficulty following directions, confusion, disorientation, forgetfulness, or making poor decisions are examples of cognitive problems that are dangerous behind the wheel.
Accidents – increased accidents and near-misses are a sign of driving problems. If you find you are experiencing more near-collision incidents it can be a sign that your driving skill is not what it used to be.
Concerned Friends, Family, or Doctors – if friends and/or family express concerns about your driving, it may be time to give it up. If doctors or caregivers bring up concerns about driving, this may also be a sign it is time to stop driving.

Alternatives To Driving

When the time comes to retire from driving, it can be difficult for elderly people to let go. Fortunately, we live in a time when giving up driving isn’t as isolating as it used to be. Technology can make it easy to keep in touch with friends, family, and even doctors. Services like food delivery or ride-sharing can make it easy to get what you need or go where you want. Alternatives to driving can make it easier to retire from driving and still enjoy a normal life.

If you are thinking about retiring from driving, the most important thing to consider is safety. Questioning your ability could be an indication it is time to retire from driving.

For additional help and information, here are links to some helpful resources:
PennDOT Mature Drivers – https://www.dmv.pa.gov/Driver-Services/Mature-Drivers/pages/default.aspx
How To Get A Loved One To Stop Driving – https://familycaregiversonline.net/how-do-i-get-my-loved-one-to-stop-driving/