Dealing With Changes

How Aging Affects Driving:
Age-Related Changes - Medical Conditions - Dealing With Changes

Be alert to changes and warning signs:

AARP lists a number of warning signs that can indicate a problem that is beginning to affect a person’s ability to drive safely. These include:

Physical capabilities such as:
  • Trouble hearing or seeing
  • Difficulty turning head to back up or check blind spots
  • Trouble moving foot from gas pedal to brake pedal
Cognitive capabilities such as:
  • Getting lost in familiar places
  • Decreased confidence
  • Getting confused at intersections, entrance or exit ramps, or roundabouts
Poor driving skills such as:
  • Trouble judging distance
  • Not using turn signals correctly or not using them at all
  • Hitting curbs when making right turns or backing up
Undesirable behaviors such as:
  • Routinely driving too fast or too slow for road conditions
  • Pulled over and given a warning or ticket
  • Involved in several crashes or near crashes in the last three years, including fender benders
External advice such as:
  • Family members or friends have expressed concerns about your driving
  • Doctor or pharmacist advised that you limit or stop driving

For a more comprehensive list of warning signs, visit AARP’s Warning Signs of Unsafe Driving.


What you can do:

Most drivers want to continue the independence of driving as long as possible. To do so while being as safe as possible, it is important to:

  • Be aware of how your driving may be affected and adjust accordingly. For example, you may consider limiting driving at night and in adverse weather.
  • Discuss your concerns with your medical provider. Some decline in driving ability may be the result of medication or an indication that your health issues are not well-controlled.
  • Listen to those who love you. Take the opportunity to discuss concerns with family and friends and let them help you figure out the next steps.
  • Take a driver safety course to refresh knowledge and gain new insights into actions you can take to improve your safety behind the wheel. AARP, AAA, and others offer low cost online courses. In some cases, successful completion of these courses may lower auto insurance rates. To learn more about driver refresher courses, visit the Training and Education section of our Driving Safely page.
  • Meet with a Driver Rehabilitation Specialist who is specially trained to help you determine if your driving is safe and can offer modifications and recommendations to improve safety. Learn more about Driver Rehabilitation Specialists by visiting the Skills Assessment section of our Driving Safely page.
  • Participate in the CarFit program. CarFit is offered through a collaboration between AAA, the American Occupational Therapy Association, and AARP. The program evaluates the fit between an older individual and their car and offers recommendations that can improve safety. Find more information about the CarFit Program here.
  • Recognize that eventually you may have to "retire" from driving. Begin planning alternative transportation and try using the options available in your community to see what works best for your needs. This will help ease the transition when you determine it is no longer safe to drive.
  • Refer to the information in the Driving Safely section.