Retiring From The Road: What Is The Average Age Seniors Hang Up The Keys?
As a concerned family member, watching your elderly loved one continue to drive deep into their golden years can be a worrying experience. We understand completely. The reality is with age comes changes in physical and cognitive abilities that can impact a person’s ability to drive safely. But when is the right time for you to speak to your elderly loved one about retiring from driving? The answer is certainly not always clear, as the average age seniors hang up the keys can vary. However, there are certain signs you should look for that may indicate it’s time to have a conversation about giving up driving. In this article, we will discuss the average age seniors stop driving as well as the stop signs highlighting if elderly loved ones should retire from the steering wheel.
Now, the big question. What is the average age seniors stop driving? According to driving statistics, as you approach 85 years old, it’s important to start thinking about retiring from driving for the safety of yourself and others on the road. However, 85 is not a set age, but rather a number you should keep in mind while also factoring in other signs (we will discuss those later in this article). But for now, here are some helpful statistics you should know if you believe an elderly person in your family might need to put up their driving license.
Average Age Seniors Stop Driving – Statistics You Need To Know!
- According to data, drivers over 75 years of age are involved in more car crashes than drivers between 35-54 years of age.
- Statistics show that older drivers have a higher fatality rate in the event of a crash due to their increased fragility.
- Approximately 8 out of 10 people in their 70s are arthritic, which can present unique challenges when operating an automobile.
- In 2014, close to 6000 senior drivers lost their lives in traffic accidents.
- In 2009, 58% of fatal accidents involving aging drivers were caused by the drivers themselves.
- More than 75% of aging drivers are taking medications, but only ⅓ fully understand the effects on their driving abilities.
- GPS tracking devices can help you monitor elderly motorists so you be sure of senior drivers’ safety.
- The combination of weakened muscles and limited range of motion can make it difficult to effectively operate a vehicle.
- There is no set average age for seniors to stop driving, as everyone’s abilities decline differently with age. Regular senior driving skills assessments are important to determine when it’s time to stop driving.
Most of the above statistics were gathered from the AAA Foundation For Traffic Safety through a combination of crash data from the US Department of Transportation and driving mileage data from the American Driving Survey.
Related Article: 8 Best GPS Tracking Watches For Seniors
How Do You Know When Elderly Should Stop Driving? – 9 Tips
- Physical and Cognitive Changes. As people age, their physical and cognitive abilities may decline, affecting their ability to drive safely. So pay attention to both!
- Close Calls. Increasing number of close calls or fender benders may indicate it is time to stop driving.
- Reflexes and Hearing. Slowing reflexes and declining hearing can impact a senior’s ability to drive safely.
- Driving at Night. Is your elderly loved one rarely driving when it is dark out? If so, avoiding driving at night can be a sign they no longer trust their ability to drive.
- Bad Weather. Difficulty driving in bad weather is a concern for all motorists. However, senior drivers are more fragile to these conditions. Poor visibility, slippery roads, and unpredictable conditions can increase the risk of accidents for any motorist. However, slow reflexes and declining physical abilities can make it even harder for seniors to respond to changing road conditions and potential hazards.
- Traffic Signals. Difficulty understanding or reacting to traffic signals may be a sign senior adult drivers should consider stopping driving.
- Getting Lost. Frequently getting lost is a giant red flag for any concerned families worried about senior citizens in their family who are still driving. Gets lost while driving, can indicate a decline in cognitive abilities, such as memory or spatial awareness. This can also increase the risk of accidents, as a senior who gets lost may become confused, disoriented, and make sudden, unexpected movements on the road.
- Reaction Times. Slowing reaction times can impact a senior’s ability to drive safely.
- Professional Assessment. A professional assessment by a doctor or driving specialist can help determine if it’s time to stop driving. Not to mention, your loved ones are more likely to listen to advice from their Kaiser Permanente healthcare provider than their meddling family members!
Average Age Seniors Stop Driving – FAQs
In a perfect world, the decision to stop driving should be made by the elderly person. Unfortunately, that isn’t always the case. With family support and a consideration of alternative options such as public transportation and personalized care, hopefully the decision is easy. However, if elderly drivers are getting lost, exhibiting slow reaction times, and showing an overall decline in cognitive patterns, it might be time for them to stop driving. In this section, we will discuss some frequently asked questions you might have on senior driving.
What Percent Of 90-Year-Olds Still Drive?
According to a study by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, only about 5% of drivers over the age of 85 hold valid driver’s licenses. As a concerned family member, it can be difficult to determine if your elderly loved one is still capable of driving safely. While it’s common for the number of elderly drivers on the road to decrease with age, it’s important to assess their individual health and cognitive abilities. This is why it’s important to have an honest conversation with senior loved ones when you believe they might be at an increased risk of car accidents due to age.
What Can I Do If My Elderly Parents Refuse To Stop Driving?
Are you concerned about your elderly parents’ driving safety? We completely understand. These conversations can be difficult but they are necessary if you want your loved ones to avoid potentially fatal crashes. If your elderly loved one refuses to stop driving, have a compassionate conversation and express your concerns. Be honest with them and explain you see the signs of declining driving skills. If possible, even offer alternative transportation options to make the transition easier for them. Also, consider involving a doctor or specialist and emphasize the importance of their well-being. This can help them make the decision to give up driving and maintain their independence with alternative options for senior driving.
How Can You Get Around After You Stop Driving Due To Old Age?
With help! Let’s first talk about some of the awesome services available that can make life easier for any senior in need of mild home care. First of all, Instacart can deliver your groceries every week and even offer you a discount if you are over the age of 60. Pretty cool right? And if you have a doctor’s appointment? Ride-share services such as Uber can get you everywhere you need to go (safely). In fact, there are tons of great options for getting around even if you don’t have a driving license anymore!
You can check out an awesome list of alternative transportation options for seniors in this article published on Care.com
- Retiring From The Road: What Is The Average Age Seniors Hang Up The Keys?
- How Do You Know When Elderly Should Stop Driving? – 9 Tips