There is no state in the nation that will tell a senior when it is time to stop driving. States have various license renewal policies; most require seniors to renew in person and pass an eye test. But no state mandates a road test to make sure a senior is still capable of driving a car. However, many are no longer capable and are still on the road, which is why senior driving is such an important issue.
The children of seniors often try to urge their parents to stop driving, but in the long run it is up to each senior to decide on their own whether they will still drive. The American Automobile Association (AAA) offers a self-rating tool that can help determine whether a senior should still be behind the wheel.
In the meantime, there are things seniors can do to make sure they remain safe drivers.
First, keep up with vision examinations. Obviously a person needs to see to drive, and seniors need to make sure they are getting the proper corrective prescriptions. Here’s a good rule of thumb — if things are blurry, do not drive.
Along the same lines, hearing is very important. All drivers need to hear in traffic, so if there are hearing issues, do not start that engine.
Reaction time is crucial when behind the wheel. If senior see that they are slowing down, it is probably best not to drive anymore. The same goes for seniors who are experiencing brain issues such as dementia.
It is difficult for seniors to admit that they are aging and that they might have to curtail activities that used to be second nature. But when it comes to senior driving, people have to remember that it is not just their lives they are jeopardizing; everyone else on the road is potentially a victim if a senior really should not be behind the wheel.