Driving is central in American life, so the decision to stop driving can be a difficult one to make. It’s important to be aware of the laws regarding driving for seniors as well as the signs someone should no longer be on the road so that you can ensure your loved ones’ safety behind the wheel.

In California, driver’s licenses are renewed every five years; this can be done in person, through the mail, or online. However, people over the age of 70 must renew their licenses in person. They must also take a vision test and a written exam. A road test may additionally be required if there are indications that their driving might be impaired. This requirement can be based on a report from a police officer, or on the recommendation of a family member or physician.

Here are some warning signs that your loved one should no longer be driving, for their own safety as well as that of others.

1.) Getting Lost More Frequently

It happens to everyone sometimes; but if you notice your loved one getting lost on a regular basis, it could be a sign of memory loss.

elderly people receiving eye exams

Photo courtesy of noir imp

2.) A Slower Reaction Time

Difficulty responding to sudden changes in traffic increases the likelihood of your loved one being in an accident. At the very least, vision and reflexes should be tested.

3.) Difficulty Turning to Check Traffic

Changes in physical mobility–like difficulty turning the head, neck, and shoulders–can be dangerous because they decrease your ability to be aware of what’s going on around you.

4.) Too Many Near Misses

Almost getting into an accident should be a rare occurrence. If it happens frequently, or you don’t feel comfortable being in the car when your loved one is driving, they probably shouldn’t be behind the wheel anymore.

5.) Frequent Damage to the Vehicle

If you notice a lot of new dings and scratches on your loved one’s car, it could signal a loss of visual acuity or depth perception, which can be very dangerous when driving.

6.) Frustration, Fear, or Anxiety

If your loved one starts becoming more easily frustrated when driving, or if they become nervous or anxious in the car, they may no longer be mentally fit to drive.

7.) Receiving Frequent Tickets

Good drivers rarely get ticketed. Getting tickets frequently is a sign that your loved one is no longer able to drive safely and should seriously consider stopping.

Even when it’s clear your loved one should not be driving, it can be a difficult conversation to have, especially since it means losing much of their independence. However, it is crucial that the conversation takes place if you have concerns.

One way to help senior citizens maintain their independence is for them to stay in their own home with the assistance of a home care aide. Select Home Care is proud to be one of California’s most respected and well-established agencies. Call us today at (805) 777-3855 or toll free at (800) 993-1657 for more information.