Most people want to continue driving for as long as they can do so safely. However, for many people, a time will come when they must limit or stop driving, either temporarily or permanently.
Following are some warning signs that indicate a person should begin to limit or stop driving.
- Almost crashing, with frequent "close calls"
- Finding dents and scrapes on the car, on fences, mailboxes, garage doors, curbs, etc.
- Getting lost, especially in familiar locations
- Having trouble seeing or following traffic signals, road signs, and pavement markings
- Responding more slowly to unexpected situations, or having trouble moving their foot from the gas to the brake pedal; confusing the two pedals
- Misjudging gaps in traffic at intersections and on highway entrance and exit ramps
- Experiencing road rage or causing other drivers to honk or complain
- Easily becoming distracted or having difficulty concentrating while driving
- Having a hard time turning around to check the rear view while backing up or changing lanes
- Receiving multiple traffic tickets or "warnings" from law enforcement officers
If you notice one or more of these cautionary signs in yourself, or in a loved one who is driving, you might want to register yourself or that person for a driver-improvement course, such as the classroom or online courses offered by AARP Driver Safety.
You may also want information about speaking to friends and loved ones about their driving. The "We Need to Talk" program, developed by The Hartford and the MIT AgeLab helps drivers and their loved ones to recognize warning signs. It also helps families initiate productive and caring conversations with older adults about driving safety.
It's also a good idea to talk to a doctor about concentration or memory problems, or other physical symptoms that can lessen driving ability.
Also of interest: Quiz: Are you a smart driver?