When should a senior citizen stop driving?

Many senior citizens are aware of their driving limitations and know when they should stop driving. Older drivers are generally safe drivers, at least to a point, but it can be hard to give up the keys—or to talk parents or other loved one into giving up theirs.

That's especially true if it means giving up independence along with the car. So, how do older people know if it's time to give up the keys or to tell an older friend or loved one to surrender theirs?

Here are some signs that a person may be having driving difficulties:

  • drifting out of the lane
  • getting lost in familiar places
  • difficulty moving the foot between the gas and the brake pedals or confusing the two
  • not merging or changing lanes safely
  • new dents or dings in the car
  • observations by neighbors or friends about unsafe driving
  • two or more traffic tickets, warnings, collisions or "near misses" within the last two years
  • accidents (including fender benders)
  • increases in car insurance premiums because of collisions
  • vision problems
  • anxiety about driving at night
  • complaints about the speed of other drivers or about sudden lane changes or actions of other drivers
  • noticeable change in reaction times, reflexes or other driving abilities

People who are not sure if it's time to stop driving, or time for a loved one to stop driving, should talk to a health care provider.

This content originally appeared on

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.