Senior Citizens and Driving
Stage 2 - What to do at The First Signs of Change

Senior citizens and driving skills do not stay at the same level. Through physical changes over time their driving skills will not be as sharp. Reaction times will slow. Intersections will be more confusing. They will be more cautious in heavy traffic. Sometimes, they become lost in thought or distracted.

You'll want to stay involved in The Driving Conversations as soon as you notice a change, or your parent mentions a change. At this stage, often a refresher course on driving skills can offer a vast improvement. Here is an example of what one church group did by offering the AARP Driving Safety course.

You want your parent to be aware of the variety of physical changes and the effects medications or sleep deprivation can have on their driving skills. There are many senior citizens and driving issues and you want them to be able to compensate in order to stay safe.

This is a sensitive issue, so often there can be a very positive effect when groups of senior citizens are tackling the driving issues together. Maybe your parent's church could do the same to help senior citizens and driving improve for the community.

Questions You Need to Ask Your Parents At This Stage

  • Remember we started this Driving Conversation some time ago? Our goal is to make sure you're safe, and to keep you independent. I just want to check in. So what changes have you noticed with your driving lately?
  • Can I run through the questions on one of these assessments, like we did before, and see how it's going?
  • Have you had any changes of medications lately?
  • When's the next time you're scheduled to see the eye doctor?
  • One of the things I've found out is that there are some driving refresher courses that you can take that will often give you a nice discount on your car insurance. Could we check one out together?

Where to Get Additional Information

Links to other helpful resources for senior citizens and driving. Each link will open in a new window.

AAA Senior Citizens and Driving Self-Assessment This is an online self-assessment. You could take it yourself and see how it works. Print a copy to use with your parent in seeing how things are going. It gives several important areas to be aware of.

AARP Driver Online Driver Safety Course You can register here for the AARP online version of their driver safety course. There is a charge, but you can search through this section to find a classroom version in your area as well. The course runs 8 hours. With the online version, you don't have to do it all at once. With the classroom version, there is the additional social reinforcement of taking it with peers. Your parents will receive a certificate after passing the course which can often be used for discounts with their car insurance company.

Mature Driver Course This course is a AAA approved course online for driver improvement. They have a state by state version that also offers car insurance discounts in many cases. Some state versions are also recognized by their state Department of Moter Vehicles. There is a fee attached.

To Understand the 5 Stages of The Driving Conversation, check the links to the pages below:

Return to Senior Drivers Overiew Page

Return to Stage 1 - The Driving Conversations
Ideally you begin this conversation before any issues have presented themselves. Establish your concern for the future and align yourself with being on the same team as your aging parent.

Click Here to Read Stage 3 - The Warning Signs
Learn the signals that there are more serious concerns. What professional medical assessments could be suggested. Referrals to Driving Rehabilitation Specialists and adaptive devices for the car are discussed.

Click Here to Read Stage 4 - When It's Time to Retire from Driving
Critical questions to know when it's time to hang up the keys. Methods to ease the transition are discussed. Alternative approaches if driving cessation will not be voluntary.

Click Here to Read Stage 5 - Preserving Independence After Driving
Planning ahead to maintain freedom. Creative transportation alternatives to driving.

Return to Talk Early Talk Often With Aging Parents Home Page

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