Senior Driving Safety Information


Many adult children express great concern that their aging parents continue to drive. But for older adults, driving plays an important role in maintaining an active lifestyle. Most older people strive to keep their independence for as long as possible. One way to do this is to maintain the ability to drive. For many, continuing to drive symbolizes
• freedom
• independence
• involvement in outside activities
• spontaneity

While older drivers may resist ceasing to drive altogether, many will place self-imposed limitations on themselves as they age. Many will decrease or discontinue night time driving, decrease the speed in which they travel, routinely drive fewer miles, avoid rush hour traffic. Senior drivers are also more likely to wear safety belts and avoid alcohol while driving. Having said that, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) maintains that senior drivers are at added risk. According to the CDC,
• drivers age 80 and older have higher crash death rates per mile driven than all but teen drivers
• most traffic fatalities involving older drivers occurred during the daytime (79%) and on weekdays (73%)
• older drivers who are injured in motor vehicle crashes are more likely than younger drivers to die from their injuries.

Deciding if and when an older adult should discontinue driving is a sensitive subject for their children to approach. In general, adult children of older drivers should watch for changes in their parents’ health status, driving habits, or general behavior. It can also be helpful to discuss the subject with a physician. The Mayo Clinic also provides the following information for older drivers:
Top 7 Tips for Older Drivers
1. Stay physically active-this improves strength, coordination, and flexibility.
2. Manage chronic conditions-especially those that may affect driving ability such as low blood sugar related to diabetes or medications that can cause drowsiness.
3. Schedule regular vision and hearing tests-these are common age related problems that make driving difficult, especially at night.
4. Understand your limitations-for example, if arthritis is a problem, use a steering wheel cover for an easier grip.
5. Drive under optimal conditions-avoid nighttime driving and rush hour traffic, or driving when tired.
6. Plan ahead-know the route you plan to take and get directions ahead of time to new destinations.
7. Update your driving skills-local community organizations such as AARP offer refresher courses for older drivers that may even earn a discount on your car insurance.

While all the published statistics highlight certain risks, each family needs to address the issue individually. For more information on senior driving safety, go to, a website dedicated to helping seniors make informed decisions on driving and includes a skills assessment module.


Source by Murphy Ortiz