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Elderly Driving: Facts and Tips

on February 23, 2021
Elderly Drivers in a car

Elderly Driving: Facts and Tips

on February 23, 2021

Driving a vehicle symbolizes independence to a lot of people.  It not only allows individuals to travel and stay active but also helps give young people and adults independence and freedom.  The same can be said about elderly people, but there is a problem.  

If you look at the elderly driving statistics, you will see that in 2018 alone there were over 7,700 adults aged 65 or older were killed in motor vehicle crashes, and over 250,000 sent to the emergency room from injuries involved in a vehicle crash.  Adults aged 75+ have a much higher crash death rate than middle-aged drivers.  This is most likely due to the fact that older adults have increased vulnerability to being devastatingly hurt in a crash.  

The Elderly also have age-related declines in their cognitive functioning and vision.  They also might have some physical conditions making it more difficult to drive.  Before you figure out how to tell an elderly person to stop driving, let’s take a look at some tips that the elderly could use to drive more efficiently and safely.  

Elderly Driving Safety Tips

There are many elderly people who will never want to give up on driving, and who can blame them? They want to still have the ability to drive around without feeling the burden of asking someone to take them from place to place.  There are some great tips and tricks that should be addressed to an elderly person you know that is still going behind the wheel of a car.  

The most important and most obvious safety tip to elderly driving is to always wear a seat belt. Regardless of age, a seat belt could dramatically save someone’s life in the event of a crash.  The elderly should also avoid driving during peak traffic times.  They should always wait until the morning and evening rush hour traffic has ended.  Dealing with high traffic can be extremely nerve-wracking for an elderly person.  

An elderly person driving at night can also be a bad choice because typically older adults don’t have the best vision.  Driving at night can make it much more difficult to see oncoming road signs and traffic lights.  Make it a habit to tell your elderly family members and friends to always keep their headlights on, no matter the time of the day or weather condition.  

Another great elderly driving safety tip is to have them only drive-in areas and streets they are familiar with, such as the town they live in.  Try to avoid allowing the elderly to drive to a new location or a far distance.  Allowing them to drive locally will still give them the freedom they need without the risk of getting lost which could make an older adult angry or confused.  

Finally, older adults should have their eyes checked by a doctor each year to see if they need driving glasses.  They should also review all of their medication to ensure that none of their medication will have tired or drowsy side-effects that could cause an accident on the road. 

Driving Test for Elderly Drivers 

Currently, there are only two states in the United States that have a mandatory driving test for the elderly, which are Illinois and New Hampshire, both of which require anyone age 75 and older to re-take a road test.  

However, when it comes to elderly driving tests, many states require a vision test for older adults.  Currently, there are 11 states that require vision tests for each renewal in older adults.  Each state has different requirements on age before a vision test is required.  There are also 16 states that require a license renewal more often at an older age.  For example, in Indiana, it is required for anyone 75 and older to get their license renewed every 3 years while normally it’s every 4 years.  

Finally, there are 5 states that prohibit license renewal by mail depending on the age of the person.  For example, in Colorado, anyone aged 61+ needs to go in-person for license renewal.  Driving license renewal for the elderly can be a bit difficult depending on the state you live in, but each state makes these laws and regulations to keep you and your family safe.  

How Do You Put an End to an Elderly Person From Driving?

If your loved one refuses to stop driving, but you are well aware that your elderly loved one is an unsafe driver at this point.  You might need to get your elderly person to stop driving completely.  The best way to handle this initially is by talking to them.  See if they are willing to give up the keys to the car, or sell the vehicle.  

More than likely, they will refuse.  If this is the case, you can file an “unsafe driver” report to the DMV.  You will need to give a very detailed description of why you believe the driver is unsafe to drive.  If the DMV also believes that the driver is unsafe, they will request that the driver does a series of vision and hearing evaluations and give the adult driver an aptitude test.  

Depending on the results of these tests, the DMV will either revoke the individual’s license or impose driving restrictions.  It can be a difficult decision to do this to a loved one, but you must remember that you are trying to keep them safe, as well as others on the road.  

The Future for Elderly Drivers

While it’s not here yet, the future is bright for the elderly.  Soon enough we will have self-driving cars that will be able to take older adults from point A to point B with ease.  Self-driving cars for the elderly and disabled will be a great option when it becomes more available.  

Until then, it is best to stick with our elderly driving tips, and always tell the older adults to DriveSmart!  In the event that your loved one has a vehicle breakdown, having an extended auto warranty on their vehicle will save them from a major financial headache. 

Written By: Stephen Lubas

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