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Senior citizen drivers: When do you turn over (or take) the keys?

As teenagers, we get behind the wheel and learn to drive. It’s freedom and mobility, right? But as we age, it can become dangerous to keep driving. For senior citizen drivers, it can be hard to know when to turn over – or take – the keys.

As we age, our reflexes, vision, and hearing can decline – meaning it can be less safe to drive. Some senior citizen drivers notice a loss of night vision. Others will misjudge a parking space. It all depends on your age and ability.

Most people want to stay behind the wheel for as long as they can – driving a car yourself means you don’t have to rely on family and friends or public transportation. But for almost everyone, there comes a day when it isn’t safe to drive.

If you or a loved one is getting older, you might wonder about the warning signs. Here are a few things to watch for.

Crashes or “close calls”

For senior citizen drivers, having a crash or a close call can be a warning sign that it isn’t safe to drive any longer. If you have an elderly parent, talk to him or her about driving and inspect the car for damage: Scrapes, dents, broken lights.


This could mean getting lost – especially if the senior citizen driver can’t navigate somewhere familiar – or even missing a traffic light or sign. Take a short spin with your loved one, or if you are a senior, ask a loved one to take a drive with you. Be honest in your assessment.


If you or a loved one starts to complain about the skills of other drivers (they go to fast, they tailgate, etc) that could be a sign that his or her own skills are deteriorating. Also, if they have issues concentrating behind the wheel or have reduced reflexes, this can be a sign it’s time to hang up the keys.

Also, if your loved one has received a traffic ticket or citation, that can be a sign to have a chat about safety.

Schottenstein Law Offices

The legal experts at Schottenstein Law offices are here to help you stay safe on the road. If you or a loved one has been hurt in a car accident, give us a call at (614) 467-8474!