How Do I Tell Mom To Stop Driving?

Or, it could be your father, a sibling or another older adult who you fear has become an unsafe driver.

Remember—mobility and independence are very important to seniors.

How do you know when it’s time for someone to limit or stop driving?

Perhaps you noticed some new scrapes or dents on mom’s car and she has no idea how they go there. Or, you believe her eyesight is failing and she complains about not being able to see well at night. Do we need to go on? Take some action—with kindness.

It’s a tough subject for most families, but it’s a serious matter. According to Midwest Regional Coordinator for AARP’s Driver Safety Programs Harold Sterling, “While older drivers are fairly safe, they are more likely to be killed or seriously injured in an accident because of their frailty.”

So Let’s Talk!

AARP offers a free online seminar called “We Need to Talk” that will help you determine how to assess your loved ones’ driving skills and provide tools to help you have this important conversation. And since it’s online, you can set your own pace.

“A relative or close friend who has driven with the older adult usually starts the conversation,” says Sterling.

Driver Safety Course Offered

AARP also offers online and classroom driver safety courses for seniors to assess their abilities and brush up on driving skills. Both courses, once completed, provide a special certificate for a discount on auto insurance. This November, current and former members of the armed forces (and their spouses) can take the driver safety course for free.

“The average age of the class student is 72,” says Sterling, “And they usually some to class with an adult child.”

The objectives of the course are:

  • Understand the effects of aging on driving.
  • Learn driving strategies that take into account the changes we experience as we age.
  • Identify the most common crash situations we face.
  • Reduce the chances of having a crash.
  • Update your knowledge and understanding of today’s roads, vehicles and other road users.
  • Think about how you drive.
  • Identify when driving may no longer be safe.

Illinois Super Seniors Program

The Illinois Secretary of Sate also offers a Super Seniors program for older adults. It’s a convenient and voluntary program for driver’s license renewal, which includes Rules of the Road classroom instruction and a vision-screening exam. The Rules of the Road Review Course also includes a review of safe driving techniques and Illinois driving laws.